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|PPPmP|^«a^HVia||;pHMi^B^I^-<^tl.lLIMU4 ■IIUllMIIIIHWII IIL. 









At0 mans ^aix^Hrtatst^ ^ecapea; 




Say, what can politicians do. 

When things run riot, plague and vex us ? 
But shoulder flook^ and start anew. 

Cut stick, and oo ahisad in Tsxas ! ! ! 

Tbb Author. 







Colonel Crockett^ at the time of leaving 
Tennessee for Texas^ made a promise to his friends 
that he would keep notes of whatever might occur 
to him of moment^ with the ulterior view of laying 
his adventures before the public. He was en- 
couraged in this undertaking by the favourable 
manner in which his previous publications had 
been received : and if he had been spared through- 
out the Texian struggle, it cannot be doubted that 
he would have produced a work replete with in- 
terest, and such as would have been universally 
read. His plain and unpolished style may occasion- 
ally oflend the taste of those who are sticklers for 
classic refinement; while others will value it for 
that frankness and sincerity which is the best 
voucher for the truth of the facts he relates. The 


manuscript has not been altered since it came into 
the possession of the editor ; though it is but proper 
to state that it had previously undergone a slight 
verbal revision ; and the occasional interlineations 
were recognised to be in the handwriting of the 
Bee hunter, so frequently mentioned in the pro- 
gress of the narrative. These corrections were 
doubtless made at the author's own request, and 
received his approbation* 

This worthy and talented young man was well 
known in New Orleans. His parents were wealthy, 
he had received a liberal education, was the pride 
and soul of the circle in which he moved, but his 
destiny was suddenly overshadowed by an act in 
which he had no agency, but his proud father in 
a moment of anger turned his face upon him, and 
the romantic youth, with a wounded spirit, com- 
menced the roving life which he had pursued 
with success for four or five years* His father 
recently found out the great injustice that had 
been done his proud spirited son, recalled him, 
and a reconciliation took place ; but the young man 
had become enamoured of Texas, and a young 
woman at Nacogdoches, and had already selected a 


plantation in Austin's colony, on which he intended 
to have settled in the course of the coming year. 
The following letter will explain the manner in 
which the manuscript was preserved, and how it 
came into my possession : — 

San Jacinto, May 3, 1836. 

My dear friend, — 

I write this from the town of Lynchburg, on the 
San Jacinto, to inform you that I am laid up in 
ordinary at this place, having been wounded in the 
right knee by a musket ball, in the glorious battle 
of the 20th ultimo. Having some friends residing 
here, I was anxious to get among them, for an 
invalid has not much chance of receiving proper 
attention from the army surgeons in the present 
state of affairs. I send you a literary curiosity, 
which I doubt not you will agree with me should be 
laid before the public. It is the journal of Colonel 
Crockett, from the time of his leaving Tennessee up 
to the day preceding his untimely death at the 
Alamo. The manner of its preservation was some- 
what singular. The Colonel was among the six 
who were found alive in the fort after the general 


massacre had ceased. General Castrillon^ as you 
have already learned, was favourably impressed 
with his manly and courageous deportment, and in- 
terceded for his life, but in vain. After the fort had 
been ransacked, these papers were found in the 
Colonel's baggage, by the servant of Castrillon, who 
immediately carried them to his master. After the 
battle of San Jacinto, they were found in the bag- 
gage of Castrillon, and as I was by at the time, and 
recognised the manuscript, I secured, it, and saved 
it from being cast away as worthless, or torn up as 
cartridge paper. By way of beguiling the tedious 
hours of my illness, I have added a chapter, and 
brought down a history of the events to the present 
time. Most of the facts I have recorded, I gathered 
from Castrillon's servant, and other Mexican pri- 
soners. The manuscript is at your service to do 
with as you please, but I should advise its publica> 
tion, and should it be deemed necessary, you are at 
liberty to publish this letter also, by way of expla- 

With sincere esteem, your friend, 

Charles T. Beale. 

To Alex. J. Dumas, Esq., New Orleans, 


The deep interest that has been taken, for several 
years past, in the sayings and doings of Colonel 
Crockett, has induced me to lay this part of his 
literary labours before the public, not doubting that 
it will be read with as much avidity as his former 
pubUcations, though in consequence of the death of 
the author before he had revised the sheets for the 
press, it will necessarily be ushered into the world 
with many imperfections on its head, for which 
indulgence is craved by the public's obedient 

Alex. J. Dumas. 

New Orleans, June, 1836. 





It is a true saying that no one knows the luck of a 
lousy calf, for though in a country where, according to 
the Declaration of Independence, the people are all horn 
free and equal, those who hav€ a propensity to go ahead 
may aim at the highest honours, and they may ultimately 
reach them too, though they start at the lowest rowel of 
the ladder, — still it is a huckleberry above my persimmon 
to cipher out how it is with six months' schooling only, 
J, David Crockett, find myself the most popular book- 
maker of the day ; and such is the demand for my works 
that I cannot write them half fast enough, no how I can 
fix it. This problem would bother even my friend Major 
Jack Downing's rule of three to bring out square, after 
all his practice on the Post-office accounts and the public 
lands to boot. 

I have been told that there was one Shakspeare more 
than two hundred years ago, who was brought up a 
hostler, but finding it a dull business^ took to writing 


COLONEL Crockett's 

plays, and made as great a stir in his time as I do at 
present ; which will go to show, that one ounce of the 
genuine horse sense is worth a pound of your hook 
learning any day, and if a man is only determined to go 
ahead, the more kicks he receives in his hreech the faster 
he will get on his journey. 

Finding it necessary to write another hook, that the 
whole world may he made acquainted with my move- 
ments, and to save myself the trouble of answering all 
the questions that are poked at me, as if my own private 
business was the business of the nation, I set about the 
work, and offer the people another proof of my capacity 
to write my own messages and state papers, should I be 
pitched upon to run against the Little Flying Dutch- 
man, a thing not unlikely from present appearances ; but 
somehow I feel rather dubious that my learning may not 
make against me, as *' the greatest and the best " has set 
the example of writing his long rigmaroles by proxy, 
which I rather reckon is the easiest plan. 

I begin this book on the 8th day of July^ 1635, at 
Home, Weakley county Tennessee. I have just returned 
from a two weeks' electioneering canvass, and I have 
spoken every day to large concourses of people with my 
competitor. I have him badly plagued, for he does not 
know as much about '* the Government," the deposites, 
and the Little Flying Dutchman, whose life I wroce, as 
1 can tell the people; and at times he is as much, 
bothered as a fly in a tar-pot to get out of the mess. 
A candidate is often stumped in making stump-speeches. 
His name is Adam Huntsman ; he lost a leg in an 
Indian fight, they say, during the last war, and the 
Government run him on the score of his military 


services. I tell him in my speech that I have great 
hopes of writing one more book, and that shall be the 
second fall of Adam, for he is on the Eve of an almighty 
thrashing. He relishes the joke about as .much as a 
doctor does his own physic. I handle the administration 
without gloves, and I do believe I will double my com- 
petitor, if I have a fair shake, and he does not work like 
a mole in the dark. Jacksonism is dying here faster 
than it ever sprung up, and I predict that '* the Govern- 
ment " will be the most unpopular man, in one year more, 
that ever had any pretensions to the high place he now 
fills. Four weeks from to-morrow will end the dispute 
in our elections, and if old Adam is not beaten out of 
his hunting shirt my name isn't Crockett. 

While on the subject of election matters, I will just 
relate a little anecdote about myself, which will show the 
people to the east, how we manage these things on the 
frontiers. It was when I first run for Congress ; I was 
then in favour of the Hero, for he had chalked out his 
course so sleek in his letter to the Tennessee legislature, 
that, like Sam Patch, says I, *< there can be no mistake 
in him,'* and so I went ahead. No one dreamt about 
the monster and the deposites at that time, and so, as I 
afterward found, many, like myself were taken in by 
these fair promises, which were worth about as much 
as a flash in the pan when you have a fair shot at a fat 

But I am losing sight of my story. — Well, I started 
off to the Cross Roads, dressed in my hunting shirt, and 
my rifle on my shoulder. Many of our constituents had 
assembled there to get a taste of the quality of the can- 
didates at orating. Job Snelling^ a gander-shanked 



Yankee, who had been caught somewhere about Plymouth 
Bay, and had been shipped to the west with a cargo of 
cod fish and rum, erected a large shantee, and set up 
shop for the occasion. A lax^e posse of the voters had 
assembled before I arrived, and my opponent had already 
made considerable headway with his speechifying and his 
treating, when they spied me about a rifle shot from the 
camp, sauntering along as if I was not a party in the 
business. *' There comes Crockett," cried one. " Let 
us hear the colonel,** cried another ; and so I mounted the 
stump that had been cut down for the occasion, and 
began to bushwhack in the most approved style. 

I had not been up long before there was such an 
uproar in the crowd that I could not hear my own voioe^ 
and some of my constituents let me know^ that they 
could not listen to me on such a dry subject as the 
welfare of the nation, until they had something to drink, 
and that I must treat 'em. Accordingly I jumped down 
from the rostrum, and led the way to the shantee, followed 
by my constituents, shouting, " Huzza for Crockett," 
and " Crockett for ever I" 

When we entered the shantee. Job was busy dealing 
out his rum in a style that showed he was making a good 
day's work of it, and I called for a quart of the best, but 
the crooked oritur returned no other answer than by 
pointing at a board over the bar, on which he had chalked 
in large letters, ^^Pay to-day and trust to-morrow^ Now 
that ideaj brought me all up standing ; it was a sort of 
cornering in which there was no back out, for ready 
money in the west, in those times^ was the shyest thing in 
all natur, and it was most particularly shy with me on 
that occasion. 


The voters, seeing my predicament, fell off to the other 
side, and I was left deserted and alone, as the Govern- 
ment will he, when he no longer has any offices to 
bestow. I saw, plain as day, that the tide of popular 
opinion was against me, and that, unless I got some rum 
speedily, I should lose my election as sure as there are 
snakes in 'N^rginny, — and it must be done soon, or even 
burnt brandy wouldn't save me* So I walked away 
from the shantee, but in another guess sort from the 
way I entered it, for on this occasion I had no train after 
me, and not a voice shouted << Huzza for Crockett." 
Popularity sometimes depends on a very small matter 
indeed ; in this particular it was worth a quart of New 
England rum, and no more. 

Well, knowing that a crisis was at hand, I struck into 
the woods with my rifle on my shoulder, my best friend 
in time of need, and as good fortune would have it, I had 
not been out more than a quarter of an hour before I 
treed a fat coon, and in the pulling of a trigger he lay 
dead at the root of the tree. I soon whipped his hairy 
jacket off his back, and again bent my way towards the 
shantee, and walked up to the bar, but not alone, for this 
time I had half a dozen of my constituents at my heels. 
I threw down the coon skin upon the counter, and called 
for a quart, and Job, though busy in dealing out rum, 
forgot to point at his chalked rules and regulations, for 
he knew that a coon was as good a legal tender for a 
quart, in the west, as a New York shilling, any day in 
the year. 

My constituents new flocked about me, and cried 
" Huzza for Crockett," " Crockett for ever,*' and finding 
that the tide had taken a turn, I told them several 

6 COLONEL Crockett's 

yarns, to get them in a good humour, and having soon 
despatched the value of the coon, I went out and mounted 
the stump, without opposition, and a clear majority of 
the voters followed me to hear what I had to offer for the 
good of the nation. Before I was half through, one of 
my constituents moved that they would hear the halance 
of my speech, after they had washed down the first part 
with some more of Joh Snelling's extract of cornstalk 
and molasses, and the question being put, it was carried 
unanimously. It wasn't considered necessary to call the 
yeas and nays, so we adjourned to the shantee, and on 
the way I began to reckon that the fate of the nation 
pretty much depended upon my shooting another coon. 

While standing at the bar^ feeling sort of bashful while 
Job's rules and regulations stared me in the face, I cast 
down my eyes, and discovered one end of the coon skin 
sticking between the logs that supported the bar. Job 
had slung it there in the hurry of business. I gave it a 
sort of quick jerk, and it followed my hand as natural as 
if I had been the rightful owner. I slapped it on the 
counter, and Job little dreaming that he was barking up 
the wrong tree, shoved along another bottle, which my 
constituents quickly disposed of with great good humour, 
for some of them saw the trick, and then we withdrew 
to the rostrum to discuss the affairs of the nation. 

I don't know how it was, but the voters soon became 
dry again, and nothing would do, but we must adjourn to 
the shantee ; and as luck would have it, the coon skin 
was still sticking between the logs, as if Job had flung it 
there on purpose to tempt me. I was not slow in 
raising it to the counter, the rum followed of course ; and 
I wish I may be shot, if I didn't, before the day was over, 


get ten quarts for the same identical skin, and from a 
fellow too, who in those parts was considered as sharp as 
a steel trap, and as bright as a pewter button. 

This joke secured me my election, for it soon circu- 
lated like smoke among my constituents, and they al- 
lowed, with one accord, that the man who could get the 
whip hand of Job Snelling in fair trade, could outwit 
Old Nick himself, and was the real grit for them in 
Congress. Job was by no means popular ; he boasted 
of always being wide awake, and that any one who could 
take him in was free to do so, for he came from a stock 
that sleeping or waking had always one eye open, and 
the other not more than half closed. The whole family 
were geniuses. His father was the inventor of wooden 
nutmegs^ by which Job said he might have made a for- 
tune, if he had only taken out a patent and kept the 
business in his own hands ; his mother Patience manu- 
factured the first white oak pumpkin seeds of the mam- 
moth kind, and turned a pretty penny the first season ; 
and his aunt Prudence was the first to discover that com 
husks, steeped in tobacco water, would make as handsome 
Spanish wrappers as ever came from Havanna, and that 
oak leaves would answer all the purposes of filling, for 
no one would discover the difference except the man who 
smoked them, and then it would be too late to make a 
stir about it. Job himself bragged of having made some 
useful discoveries ; the most profitable of which was the 
art of converting mahogany sawdust into cayenne pepper, 
which he said was a profitable and safe business ; for the 
people have been so long accustomed to having dust 
thrown in their eyes, that there wasn't much danger of 
being found out. 

8 COLONEL Crockett's 

The way I got to the blind side of the Yankee mer* 
chant was pretty generally known before the election day, 
and the result was, that my opponent might as well have 
whistled jigs to a milestone as attempt to beat up for 
votes in that district I beat him out and out, quite 
back into the old year, and there was scarce enough left 
of him,, after the canvass was over, to make a small 
grease spot. He disappeared without even leaving as 
much as a mark behind ; and such will be the fate of 
Adam Huntsman, if there is a fair fight and no gouging. 

After the election was over, I sent Snelling the price 
of the rum, but took good care to keep the fact from the 
knowledge of my constituents. Job refused the money, 
and sent me word, that it did him good to be taken in 
occasionally, as it served to brighten his ideas ; but I 
afterwards learnt that when he found out the trick that 
had been played upon him, he put all the rum I had 
ordered in his bill against my opponent, who, being elated 
with the speeches he had made on the aflPairs of the 
nation, could not descend to examine into the parti- 
culars of the bill of a vender of rum in the small way. 


Aiigust 11 9 1835. Jam now at home in Weakley 
county. My canvass is over, and the result is known. 
Contrary to all expectation, I am beaten two hundred 
and thirty votes, from the best information I can get ; 
and in this instance, I may say, bad is the best. My 
mantle has fallen upon the shoulders of Adam, and I 


hope he may wear it with becoming dignity, and never 
lose sight of the welfare of the nation, for the purpose of 
elevating a few designing politicians to the head of the 
heap. The rotten policy pursued by " the Government" 
cannot last long ; it will either work its own downfall, or 
the downfall of the republic, soon, unless the people tear 
the seal from their eyes, and behold their danger time 
enough to avert the ruin. 

I wish to inform the people of these United States 
what I had to contend against, trusting that the expo86 I 
shall make will be a caution to the people not to repose 
too much power in the hands of a single man, though he 
should be ^' the greatest and the best." — I had, as I have 
already said, Mr. Adam Huntsman for my competitor, 
aided by the popularity of both Andrew Jackson and 
Governor Carroll, and the whole strength of the Union 
Bank at Jackson. I have been told by good men, that 
some of the managers of the bank on the days of the 
election were heard say, that they would give twenty-five 
dollars a vote for votes enough to elect Mr. Huntsman. 
This is a pretty good price for a vote, and in ordinary 
times a round dozen might be got for the money. 

I have always believed, since Jackson removed the 
deposites, that his whole object was to place the treasury 
where he could use it to influence elections ; and I do 
believe he is determined to sacrifice every dollar of the 
treasury to make the Little Fl3ring Dutchman his suc- 
cessor. If ibis is not my creed, I wish I may be shot. 
For fourteen years since I have been a candidate I never 
saw such means used to defeat any candidate, as were 
put in practice against me on this occasion. There was 
a disciplined band of judges and officers to hold the 

B 3 


elections at almost every poll. Of late years they begiD 
to find out that there's an advantage in this, even in the 
west. Some officers held the election, and at the same 
time had nearly all they were worth het on the election. 
Such judges I should take it are like the handle of a jug, 
all on one side ; and I am told it doesn*t require much 
schooling to make the tally list correspond to a notch 
with the ballot box, provided they who make up the 
returns have enough loose tickets in their breeches 
pockets. I have no doubt that I was completely rascal- 
led out of my election, and I do regret that duty to 
myself and to my country compels me to expose such 

Well might Governor Poindexter exclaim — ^ Ah I 
my country, what degradation thou hast fidlen into I" 
Andrew Jackson was, during my election canvass, frank- 
ing the extra Globe with a prospectus in it to every post 
office in this district, and upon one occasion he had my 
mileage and pay as a member drawn up and sent to this 
district, to one of his minions, to have it published just 
a few days before the election. This is what I call small 
potatoes and few of a hill. He stated that I had 
charged mileage for one thousand miles and that it was 
but seven hundred and fifty miles, and held out the idea 
that I had taken pay for the same mileage that Mr* 
Fitzgerald had taken, when it was well known that he 
charged thirteen hundred miles horn here to Washing- 
ton, and he and myself both live in the same county. 
It is somewhat remarkable how this fact should have 
escaped the keen eye of " the Government." 

The Greneral's pet, Mr. Grundy, charged for one 
thousand miles from Nashville to Washington, and it was 


sanctioned by the legislature, I suppose because he would 
huzza I for Jackson ; and because I think proper to re- 
frain from huzzaing until he goes out of office, when I 
shall give a screamer^ that will be heard from the Mis- 
sissippi to the Atlantic, or my name's not Crockett — for 
this reason he came out openly to electioneer against me. 
I now say, that the oldest man living never heard of the 
President of a great nation to come down to open elec- 
tioneering for his successor. It is treating the nation as 
if it was the property of a single individual, and he had 
the right to bequeath it to whom he pleased — the same 
as a patch of land for which he had the patent. It is 
plain to be seen that the poor superannuated old man is 
surrounded by a set of horse leeches, who will stick to 
him while there is a drop of blood to be got, and their 
maws are so capacious that they will never get full 
enough to drop off. The Land-office, the Post-office, and 
the Treasury itself, may all be drained, and we shall still 
find them craving for more. They use him to promote 
their own private interest^ and for all his sharp sight, he 
remains as blind as the dead lion to the jackals who are 
tearing him to pieces. In fact, I do believe he is a 
perfect tool in their hands, ready to be used to answer 
any purpose to promote either their interest or gratify 
their ambition. 

I come within two hundred and thirty votes of being 
elected, notwithstanding I had to contend against " the 
greatest and the best," with the whole power of the Trea- 
sury against me. The Little Flying Dutchman will no 
doubt calculate upon having a true game cock in Mr. 
Huntsman ; but if he doesn't show them the White fea- 
ther before the first session is over, I agree never to be 


set down for a prophet, that's all. I am gratified that I 
have spoken the truth to the people of my district, 
regardless of consequences. I would not he compelled 
to how down to the idol for a seat in Congress during 
life. I have never known what it was to sacrifice my 
own judgment to gratify any party, and I have no doubt 
of the time being close at hand when I will be rewarded 
for letting my tongue speak what my heart thinks. I 
have suffered myself to be politically sacrificed to save 
my country from ruin and disgrace ; and if I am never 
again elected, I will have the gratification to know that 
I have done my duty. — Thus much I say in relation to 
the manner in which my downfall was effected, and, in 
laying it before the public, <' I take the responsibi- 
lity.'' I may add, in the words of the man in the play, 
" Crockett's occupation's gone." 

Two weeks and more have elapsed since I wrote the 
foregoing account of my defeat, and I confess the thorn 
still rankles, not so much on my own account as the 
nation's, for I had set my heart on following up the tra- 
velling deposites until they should be fairly gathered to 
their proper nest, like young chickens ; for I am aware of 
the vermin that are on the constant look-out to pounce 
upon them, like a cock at a blackberry, which they would 
have done long since, if it had not been for a few such 
men as Webster, Clay, and myself. It is my parting 
advice, that this matter be attended to without delay, for 
before long the little chickens will take wing, and even 
the powerful wand of the magician of Kinderhook will be 
unable to point out the course they have flown. 

As my country no longer requires my services, I have 
made up my mind to go to Texas. My life has been cme 


of danger, toil, and privation ; but these difficulties I had 
to encounter at a time when I considered it nothing more 
than right good sport to surmount them ; but now I start 
anew upon my own hook, and God only grrant that it 
may be strong enough to support the weight that may be 
hung upon it. I have a new row to hoe, a long and a 
rough one, but come what will FU go ahead. 

A few days ago I went to a meeting of my constitU" 
ents. My appetite for politics was at one time just about 
as sharp set as a saw-mill, but late events has given me 
something of a surfeit, — more than I could well digest ; 
still habit, they say, is second natur, and so I went and 
gave them a piece of my mind touching ** the Govern- 
ment" and the succession, by way of a codicil to what I 
have often said before. 

I told them to keep a sharp look-out for the deposites, 
for it requires an eye as insinuating as a dissecting knife 
to see what safety there is in placing one million of the 
public funds in some little country shaving shop with no 
more than one hundred thousand dollars capital. Thk 
bank, we will just suppose, without being too particular, 
is in the neighbourhood of some of the public lands, 
where speculators, who have every thing to gain and 
nothing to lose, swarm like crows about carrion. They 
buy the United States' land upon a large scale, get dis- 
counts from the aforesaid shaving shop, which are made 
upon a large scale also, upon the United States* funds ; 
they pay the whole purchase money with these discounts, 
and get a clear title to the land; so that when the 
shaving shop comes to make a Flemish account of her 
transactions, << the Government'* will discover that he 
has not only lost the original deposite, but a large body 


of the public lands to boot. So much for takiug the 

I told them that they were hurrying along a broad 
M^Adamized road to make the Little Rying Dutchman 
the successor ; but they would no sooner accomplish that 
end, than they would be obliged to buckle to, and drag 
the Juggernaut through many narrow and winding and 
out-of-the-way paths, and hub deep in the mire. That 
they reminded me of the Hibernian, who bet a glass of 
grog with a hod carrier, that he could not carry him in 
his hod up a ladder to the third story of a new building. 
He seated himself in the hod, and the other mounted the 
ladder with his load upon his shoulder. He ascended to 
the second story pretty steadily, but as he approached the 
third his strength failed him, he began to totter, and Pat 
was so delighted at the prospect of winning his bet, that 
he clapped his hands and shouted, << By the powers the 
grog's mine,*' and he made such a stir in the hod, that I 
wish I may be shot if he didn't win it, but he broke his 
neck in the fall. And so I told my constituents that they 
might possibly gain the victory, but in doing so, they 
would ruin their country. 

I told them, moreover^ of my services, pretty straight 
up and down ; for a man may be allowed to speak on such 
subjects when others are about to forget them ; and I 
also told them of the manner in which I had been knocked 
down and dragged out, and that I did not consider it a 
fair fight any how they could ^x it. 1 put the ingredients 
in the cup pretty strong, I tell you, and I concluded my 
speech by telling them that I was done with politics for 
the present, and that they might all go to hell, and I 
would go to Texas. 


When I returned home I felt a sort of cast down at the 
change that had taken place in my fortunes, and sorrow* 
it is saidy will make even an oyster feel poetical. I never 
tried my hand at that sort of writing, hut on this parti- 
cular occasion such was my state of feeling that I hegan 
to fancy myself inspired ; so I took pen in hand, and, as 
usual, I went ahead. When I had got fairly through, 
my poetry looked as zigzag as a worm fence ; the lines 
wouldn't tally, no how; so I showed them to Peleg 
Longfellow, who has a first-rate reputation with us for 
that sort of writing, having some years ago made a car- 
rier s address for the Nashville Banner, and Peleg lopped 
off some lines, and stretched out others ; hut I wish I 
may he shot if I don't rather think he has made it worse 
than it was when I placed it in his hands. It heing my 
first, and no douht last piece of poetry, I will print it in 
this place, as it will serve to express my feelings on 
leaving my home, my neighbours, and friends and coun- 
try, for a strange land, as fully as I could in plain prose. 

Farewell to the mountains whose mazes to me 
Were more beautifal far than Eden could be ; 
No fruit was forbidden, but Nature had spread 
Her bountiful board, and her children were fed. 
The hills were our garners — our herds wildly grew, 
And nature was shepherd and husbandman too. 
I felt like a monarch, yet thought like a man, 
As I thanked the Great Giver, and worshipped his plan. 

The home I forsake where my offspring arose ; 
The graves I forsake where my children repose ; 
The home I redeemed from the savage and wild ; 
The home I have lov'd as a father his child; 
The corn that I planted, the fields that I clear' d, 
The flocks that I raisM, and the cabin I reared ; 

16 coLOMBL Crockett's 

The wife of my boaom — Farewell to ye all t 
In the land of the stranger I rise— or I fall. 

Farewell to my country I — I fought for thee well, 

When the savage rush'd forth like the demons from hell. 

In peace or in war I have stood by thy side — 

My country, for thee I have lived^-would have died ! 

But I am cast off—my career now is run, 

And I wander abroad like the prodigal son — 

Where the wild savage roves, and the broad prairies spread, 

The fallen— despised— will again go ahead ! 


In my last chapter I made mention of my determina- 
tion to cut and quit the States, until such time as honest 
and independent men should again work their way to the 
head of the heap ; and as I should probably have some 
idle time on hand before that state of affairs shall be 
brought about, I promised to give the Texians a helping 
hand, on the high road to freedom. — Well, I was always 
fond of having my spoon in a mess of that kind, for if 
there is any thing in this world particularly worth living 
for, it is freedom ; any thing that would render death to 
a brave man particularly pleasant, it is freedom. 

I am now on my journey, and have already tortled 
along as fax as Little Rock on the Arkansas, about one 
hundred and twenty-five miles from the mouth. I had 
promised to write another book^ expecting, when I made 
that promise, to write about politics, and use up ** the 
Government," his successor, the removal of the deposites. 


and so on, matters and things that come as natural to me 
as bear hunting ; but being rascalled out of my election, 
I am taken all aback, and I must now strike into a 
new path altogether. Still I will redeem my promise, 
and make a book, and it shall be about my adventures 
in Texas, hoping that my friends^ Messrs. Webster 
and Clay and Biddle, will keep a sharp look-out upon 
<* the Government'* during my absence. — I am told that 
every author of distinction writes a book of travels now- 

My thermometer stood somewhat below the freezing 
point as I left my wife and children ; still there was 
some thawing about the eyelids, a thing that had not 
taken place since I first ran away from my father's 
house when a thoughtless vagabond boy. I dressed 
myself in a clean hunting shirt, put on a new fox^ 
skin cap with the tail hanging behind, took hold of my 
rifle Betsey, which all the world knows was presented 
to me by the patriotic citizens of Philadelphia, as a 
compliment for my unflinching opposition to the tyran- 
nic measures of " the Government,'* and thus equipped 
I started off, with a heavy heart, for Mill's Point, to 
take steam-*boat down the Mississippi, and go ahead in a 
new world. 

While walking along, and thinking whether it was 
altogether the right grit 1o leave my poor country at 
a time when she most needed my services, I came to 
a clearing, and I was slowly rising a slope, when I was 
startled by loud, profane, and boisterous voices, (as 
loud and profane as have been heard in the White 
House of late years,) which seemed to proceed from a 
thick covert of undergrowth, about two hundred yards 

IS COLONEL Crockett's 

in advance of me, and about qpe hundred to the right of 
my road. 

" You kin, kin you ? " 

" Yes, I kin, and am able to do it I Boo— oo— oo ! — 

I wake snakes, and walk your chalks I Brimstone 

and fire ! Don't hold me, Nick Stoval I The 

fight's made up, and lets go at it. my soul if I 

don't jump down his throat and gallop every chitterling 
out of him, before you can say * quit I ' " 

** Now, Nick, don't hold him ! Jist let the wild cat 
come, and 111 tame him. Ned 11 see me a fair fight — 
won't you, Ned ? " 

** O I yes, I'll see you a fair fight ; blast my old shoes 
if I don't." 

'< That's sufficient, as Tom Haynes said, when he saw 
the elephant. Now, let him come." 

Thus they went on, with countless oaths interspersed, 
which I dare not even hint at, and with much that I 
could not distinctly hear. 

In mercy's name I thought I, what a band of ruffians 
is at work here. I quickened my gait, and had come 
nearly opposite to the thick g^rove whence the noise 
proceeded, when my eye caught indistinctly, through the 
foliage of the dwarf oaks and hickories that intervened, 
glimpses of a man or men, who seemed to be in a violent 
struggle ; and I could occasionally catch those deep* 
drawn emphatic oaths, which men in conflict utter, when 
they deal blows. I hurried to the spot, but before I 
reached it^ I saw the combatants come to the ground, 
and, after a short struggle, I saw the uppermost one (for 

1 could not see the other) make a heavy plunge with 
both his thumbs, and at the same instant I heard a cry 


in the accent of keenest torture, ^ Enough I my eye is 

I stood completely horror-struck for a moment. The 
accomplices in the brutal deed had all iled at my ap- 
proach, at least I supposed so, for they were not to be 

*< Now blast your corn-shucking soul,*' said the victor, 
a lad about eighteen, as he rose from the ground, " come 
cuttn your shines 'bout me agin> next time I come to 
the Court House, will you I — Get your owl-eye in agin 
if you can.** 

At this moment he saw me for the first time. He 
loooked as though he couldn't help it, and was for making 
himself particularly scarce, when I called to him, '< Come 
back, you brute, and assist me in relieving the poor 
oritur you have ruined for ever." 

Upon this rough salutation, he sort of collected hiip- 
self, and with a taunting curl of the nose he replied, 
'< You needn't kick before you're spurred. There an*t 
nobody there, nor han*t been nother. I was just seein' 
how I could a' font." So saying, he bounded to his 
plough, which stood in the comer of the fence about fifty 
yards from the battle ground. 

Now would any man in his senses believe that a ra- 
tional being could make such a darned fool of himself? 
but I wish I may be shot, if his report was not as true as 
the last Post-office report, every word, and a little more 
satisfactory. All that I had heard and seen was nothing 
more nor less than what is called a rehearsal of a knock- 
down and drag-out fight, in which the young man had 
played all the parts for his own amusement, and by way 
of keeping his hand in. I went to the ground from 

20 COLONEL Crockett's 

which he had risen* and there was the prints of his two 
thumhsy plunged up to the halls in the mellow earth, 
ahout the distance of a man's eyes apart, and the ground 
around was hroken up» as if two stags had heen engaged 
upon it. 

As I resumed my journey, I laughed outright at this 
adventure, for it reminded me of Andrew Jackson's 
attack upon the United States Bank. He had magnified 
it into a monster^ and then began to rip and tear and 
swear and gouge, until he thought he had the monster 
on its hack ; and when the fight was over, and he got up 
to look about for his enemy, he could find none for the 
soul of him, for his enemy was altogether in his heated 
imagination. These fighting characters are never at 
peace, unless they have something to quarrel with, and 
rather than have no fight at all they will trample on 
tl^ir own shadows. 

The day I arrived at Little Rock, I no sooner quit the 
steamer than I streaked it straight ahead for the principal 
tavern, which is nothing to boast of, nohow, unless a man 
happens to be like the member of Congress from the 
south, who was converted to Jacksonism, and then made 
a speech as long as the longitude about hb political 
honesty. Some men, it seems, take a pride in saying a 
great deal about nothing — ^like windmills, their tongues 
must be going whether they have any grist to grind or 
not. This is all very well in Congress, where every 
member is expected to make a speech to let his consti- 
tuents know that some things can be done as well as 
others ; but I set it down as being rather an imposition 
upon good nature to be compelled to listen, without 
receiving the consideration of eight dollars per day, 


besides mileage, as we do in Congress. Many members 
will do nothing else for their pay but listen, day in and 
day out, and I wish I may be shot, if they do not earn 
every penny of it, provided they don't sleep, and Benton 
or little Isaac Hill will spin their yams but once in a 
week. No man who has not tried it can imagine what 
dreadful hard work it is to listen. Splitting gum logs 
in the dog days is child's play to it. I've tried both, and 
give the preference to the gum logs. 

Well, as I said, I made straight for the tavern, and as 
I drew nigh, I saw a considerable crowd assembled before 
the door. So, thought I, they have heard that Colonel 
Crockett intended to pay a visit to their settlement, and 
they have already got together to receive him in due 
form. I confess I felt a little elated at the idea, and 
commenced ransacking the lumber room of my brain, to 
find some one of my speeches that I might furbish up 
for the occasion; and then I shouldered my Betsey, 
straightened myself, and walked up to the door, charged 
to the muzzle, and ready to let fly. 

But strange as it may seem, no one took any more 
notice of me, than if I had been Martin Van Buren, or 
Dick Johnson, the celebrated wool grower. This took 
me somewhat aback, and I inquired what was the 
meaning of the gathering ; and I learnt that a travelling 
showman had just arrived, and was about to exhibit for 
the first time the wonderful feats of Harlequin, and Punch 
and Judy, to the impatient natives. It was drawing 
towards night-fall, and expectation was on tiptoe; the 
children were clinging to their mothers' aprons, with 
their chubby faces dimpled with delight, and asking 
«* What is it like ? when will it begin ? " and similar 


questions, while the women, as all g^ood wives are in duty 
bound to do, appealed to their husbands for information ; 
but the call for information was not responded to in this 
instance, as is sometimes the case in Congp*ess ; — ^their 
husbands understood the matter about as well as *' the 
Government " did the Post-office accounts. 

The showman at length made his appearance, with a 
countenance as wo-begone as that of ** the Government " 
when he found his batch of dirty nominations rejected 
by the Senate, and mentioned the impossibility that any 
performance should take place that evening, as the lame 
fiddler had overcharged his head, and having but one leg 
at best, it did not require much to destroy his equili- 
brium. And as all the world knows, a puppet show 
without a fiddle is like roast pork and no apple sauce. 
This piece of intelligence was received with a general 
murmur of dissatisfaction ; and such was the indignation of 
his majesty, the sovereign people, at being thwarted in his 
rational amusements, that, according to the established 
custom in such cases made and provided, there were some 
sumptoms of a disposition to kick up a row, break the 
show, and finish the amusements of the day by putting 
Lynch*8 law in practice upon the poor showman. There is 
nothing like upholding the dignity of the people, and so 
Lieut. Randolph thought, when with his cowardly and 
sacrilegious hand he dared to profane the anointed nose 
of '* the Government,'* and bring the whole nation into 
contempt. If I had been present, may disgrace follow 
my career in Texas, if I wouldn't have become a whole 
hog Jackson man upon the spot, for the time being, for 
the nose of '* the Government " should be held more 
sacred than any other member, that it may be kept in 


good order to smell out all the corruption that is going 
forward — not a very pleasant office, and by no means a 

The indignant people, as I have already said, were 
about to exercise their reserved rights upon the unlucky 
showman, and Punch and Judy too, when, as good for- 
tune would have it, an old gentleman drove up to the 
tavern door in a sulky, with a box of books and pamphlets 
of his own composition — (for he was an author like 
myself) — thus being able to vouch for the moral tendency 
of every page he disposed of. Very few booksellers can 
do the same, I take it. His linen and flannels, which he 
had washed in the brooks by the wayside, were hanging 
over the back of the crazy vehicle to dry, while his own 
snufiy countenance had long bid defiance to sun, wind, 
and water to bleach it. 

His jaded beast stopped instinctively upon seeing a 
crowd, while the old man remained seated for some 
moments before he could recall his thoughts from the 
world of imagination, where they were gleaning for the 
benefit of mankind. He looked, it must be confessed, 
more like a lunatic than a moral lecturer ; but being con- 
scious of his own rectitude, he could not conceive how 
his outward Adam could make him ridiculous in the eyes 
of another; but a fair outside is every thing to the 
world. The tulip flower is highly prized, although in- 
debted for its beauty to the corruption engendered at the 
root : and so it is with roan. 

We occasionally meet with one possessing sufficient 
philosophy to look upon life as a pilgrimage, and not as 
a mere round of pleasure : who, treating this world as a 
place of probation, is ready to encounter suflering, and 

24 COLOHEL Crockett's 

not expecting the funtbine of prosperity^ escapes being 
orerdottded bjr disappointment. Socb is tbe cbaracter 
of tbe old preaeber, wbose ridicnloos appearance in ibe 
eyes of tbe tbotigbtless and ignorant is only exceeded by 
tbe respect and veneration of tbose wbo are capable of 
estimating bis real wortb. I learnt tbat be was ed u ca t ed 
for tbe cburcbt bnt not being able to obtain a liringy be 
looked upon tbe wbole eartb as bis altar^ and all man* 
kind as bis flock« He was pennyless, and tberelbre bad 
no predilection for tbis or tbat section of tbe globe, for 
wbererer be migbt be, bis jonmey df probation still con- 
tinued, and in every spot be found tbat bnman nature 
was tbe same* His life was literally tbat of a pilgrim* 
He was an isolated being, thougb bis beart overflowed 
wHh tbe milk ai buman kindness ; for being indiscrimi*' 
nate in bis affection, very few valued it. He wbo com- 
mences tbe world witb a general love for mankind, and 
suffers bis feelings to dictate to bis reason, runs a great 
bazard df reaping a plentiful barvest of ingratitude, and 
of closing a tedious existence in misantbropy. But it 
was not so witb tbe aged preacber. 

Being unable to earn bis bread as an itinerant lee* 
turer,— for in tbose cases it is mostly poor preacb and 
worse pay,— be turned author, and wrote bistories wbicb 
contained but little information, and sermons wbicb, like 
many otbers, bad nothing to boast of, beyond being 
strictly orthodox. He succeeded in obtaining a sulky» 
and a horse to drag it, by a plea of mercy, which de- 
prived the hounds ai their food, and with these be tra- 
velled over the western states, to dispose ot the product 
of his brain; and when poverty was deprived of the 
benefit of his kbour, in the benevolence dt bis beart be 


would deliver a moral lecture, which had the usual 
weight of homilies on this subject A lecture is the 
cheapest thing that a man can bestow in charity, and 
many of our universal philanthropists have made the 

The landlord now made his appearance, and gave a 
hearty welcome to the reverend traveller, and shaking 
him by the hand, added, that he never came more oppor- 
tunely in all his life. 

" Opportunely I " exclaimed the philosopher. 

" Yes," rejoined the other ; " you have a heart and 
head that labour for the benefit of us poor mortals." 

*' O ! true, an excellent market for my pamphlets," 
replied the other, at the same time beginning to open the 
trunk that lay before him. 

<' You misunderstand me,'* added the landlord. " A 
poor showman, with a sick wife and five children, has 
arrived from New Orleans " 

*^ I will sell my pamphlets to relieve their wants, and 
endeavour to teach them resignation." 

** He exhibits to-night in my large room : you know 
the room, sir — I let him have it gratis.'* 

*^ You are an honest fellow. I will witness his show, 
and add my mite to his assistance." 

^ But,*' replied the innkeeper, '^ the lame fiddler is 
fond of the bottle, and is now snoring in the hayloft." 

<< Degrading vice!" exclaimed the old man, and taking 
*' God*s Revenge against Drunkenness" from the trunk, 
and standing erect in the sulky, commenced reading to 
his astonished audience. The innkeeper interrupted him 
by observing that the homily would not fill the empty 
purse of the poor showman, and unless a fiddler could 


26 COLONEL Crockett's 

be obtained, he must depend on charity, or go sup- 
perless to bed. And moreover, the people, irritated at 
their disappointment^ had threatened to tear the show to 

" But what's to be done ? " demanded the parson. 

*' Your reverence shakes an excellent bow," added the 
innkeeper, in an insinuating tone. 

^* IV* exclaimed the parson ; '* I fiddle for a puppet 
show I" 

** Not for the puppet show, but for the sick wife and 
five hungry children.'* 

'* A tear started into the eyes of the old man, as he 
added in an under-tone, '* If I could be- concealed from 
the audience '* v 

'* Nothing easier,'* cried the other ; '^ we will place 
you behind the scenes, and no one will ever dream that 
you fiddled at a puppet show." 

The matter being thus settled, they entered the house, 
and shortly afterward the sound of a fiddle, squeaking 
like a giggling girl tickled into ecstacies, restored mirth 
and good humour to the disappointed assemblage, who 
rushed in, helter-skelter, to enjoy the exhibition. 

All being seated, and silence restored, they waited in 
breathless expectation for the rising of the curtain. At 
length Harlequin made his appearance, and performed 
astonishing feats of activity on the slack rope ; turning 
somersets backward and forward, first on this side, and 
then on that, with as much ease as if he had been a 
politician all his life, — the parson sawing vigorously on 
his fiddle all the time. Punch followed, and set the 
audience in a roar with his antic tricks and jests ; but 
when Judy entered with her broomstick, the burst of ap- 


plause was as g^at as ever I heard bestowed upon one 
of Benton's slang-whang speeches in Congress, and I 
rather think quite as well merited. 

As the plot thickened, the music of the parson became 
more animated ; but unluckily in the warmth of his zeal 
to do justice to his station, hb elbow touched the side 
scene, which fell to the floor, and exposed him, working 
away in all the ecstacies of little Isaac Hill, while read- 
ing one of his long orations about things in general to 
empty benches. No ways disconcerted by the accident, 
the parson seized upon it as a fine opportunity of con- 
veying a lesson to those around him, at the same time 
that he might benefit a fellow mortal. He immediately 
mounted the chair upon which he was seated, and ad- 
dressed the audience to the following effect : — 

^* Many of you have come here for amusement, and 
others no doubt to assist the poor man, who is thu§ 
struggling to obtain a subeistence for his sick wife and 
children.— Lo I the moral of a puppet show I— But is 
this all ; has he not rendered unto you your money's 
worth ? This is not charity. If you are charitably in- 
dinedj here is an object fully deserving of it." He 
preached upon this text for full half an hour, and con- 
cluded with taking his hat to collect assistance from his 
hearers for the friendless showman and his family. 

The next morning, when his sulky was brought to 
the door, the showman and his wife came out to thank 
their benefactor. The old man placed his trunk of pam- 
phlets before him, and proceeded on his pilgrimage, the 
little children following him through the. village with 
bursts of gratitude. 

c 2 



The public mind having been quieted by the exhibi- 
tion of the puppet show, and allowed to return to its 
usual channel, it was not long before the good people of 
Little Rock began to inquire what distinguished stranger 
had come among them ; and learning that it was neither 
more nor less than the identical Colonel Crockett, the 
champion of the fugitive deposites, than straight they 
went ahead at getting up another tempest in a teapot ; 
and I wish I may be shot, if I wasn't looked upon as 
almost as great a sight as Punch and Judy. 

Nothing would answer but I must accept of an invita* 
tion to a public dinner. Now as public dinners have be- 
come so common, that it is enough to take away the 
appetite of any man, who has a proper sense of his own 
importance, to sit down and play his part in the humbug 
business, I had made up my mind to write a letter de- 
clining the honour, expressing my regret, and winding 
up with a flourish of trumpets about the patriotism of 
the citizens of Little Rock, and all that sort of thing, 
when the landlord came in, and says he, <* Colonel, just 
oblige me by stepping into the back yard a moment." 

<* I followed the landlord in silence, twisting and turn- 
ing over in my brain, all the while, what 1 should say in 
my letter to the patriotic citizens of Little Rock, who 
were bent on eating a dinner for the good of their coun- 
try; when he conducted me to a shed in the yard, 
where I beheld, hanging up, a fine fat cub bear, several 
haunches of venison, a wild turkey as big as a young 


ostrich, and small game too tedious to mention. *' Well, 
Colonel, what do you think of my larder?" says he. 
" Fine I '* says I ; " let us liquor." We walked back to 
the bar, I took a horn, and without loss of time I wrote 
to the committee, that I accepted of the invitation to a 
public dinner with pleasure, — that I would always be 
found ready to serve my country either by eating or 
fasting ; and that the honour the patriotic citizens of 
little Rock had conferred upon me rendered it the 
proudest moment of my eventful life. The chairman cf 
the committee was standing by while I wrote the letter* 
which I handed to him ; and so this important business 
was soon settled. 

As there was considerable time to be killed, or got rid 
of in some way, before the dinner could be cooked, it was 
proposed that we should go beyond the village, and shoot 
at a mark, for they had heard that I was a first-rate shot, 
and they wanted to see for themselves whether fame had 
not blown her trumpet a little too strong in my fstvour ; 
for since she had represented ''the Government" as 
being a first-rate statesman, and Colonel Benton as a 
first-rate orator, they could not receive such reports with- 
out proper allowance, as Congress thought of the Post- 
office report 

Well, I shouldered my Betsey, and she is just about as 
beautiful a piece as ever came out of Philadelphia, and I 
went out to the shooting ground, followed by all the 
leading men in Little Rock, and that was a clear majority 
of the town, for it is remarkable that there are always 
more leading men in small villages than there are fol- 

I was in prime order. My eye was as keen as a lizard, 

80 COLONEL Crockett's 

and my nerves were as steady and unshaken as the poli- 
tical course of Henry Clay ; so at it we went, the dis- 
tance one hundred yards. The principal marksmen^ 
and such as had never been beat, led the way, and there 
was some pretty fair shooting, I tell you. At length it 
came to my turn. I squared myself, raised my beautiful 
Betsey to my shoulder, took deliberate aim, and smack I 
sent the bullet ri^t into the centre of the bulFs eye. 
*^ There's no mistake in Betsey," said I, in a sort of care- 
less way, as they were all looking at the target^ sort of 
amazed, and not at all over pleased. 

^* That's a chance shot. Colonel," said one who had 
the reputation of being the best marksman in those 

*^ Not as much chance as there was," said I, '< when 
Dick Johnson took his darkie for better for worse. I 
can do it five times out of six any day in the week." 
This I said in as confident a tone as " the Government" 
did when he protested that he forgave Colonel Benton 
for shooting him, and he was now the best friend he had 
in the world. I knew it was not altogether as correct as 
it might be, but when a man sets about going the big 
figure, halfway measures won't answer nohow; and ** the 
greatest and best** had set me the example, that swag- 
gering will answer a good purpose at times. 

They now proposed that we should have a second 
trial ; but knowing that I had nothing to gain, and every 
thing to lose, I was for backing out and fighting shy ; but 
there was no let-off, for the cock of the village, though 
whipped, determined not to stay whipped ; so to it again 
we went. They were now put upon their mettle, and 
they fired much better than the first tune ; and it was 


what might be called pretty sharp shooting. When it 
came to my turn, I squared myself, and turning to the 
prime shot, I gave him a knowing nod, by way of show- 
ing my confidence ; and says I, '* Look-out for the bulFs 
eye, stranger." I blazed away, and I wish I may be 
shot if I didn't miss the target. They examined it all 
over, and could find neither hair nor hide of my bullet, 
and pronounced it a dead miss ; when says I, ** Stand 
aside and let me look, and I war*nt you I get on the 
right trail of the critter." They stood aside, and I ex- 
amined the bull's eye pretty particular, and at length 
cried out, *^ Here it is ; there is no snakes if it ha'n't 
followed the very track of the other." They said it was 
utterly impossible^ but I insisted on their searching the 
hole, and I agreed to be stuck up as a mark myself, if 
they did not find two bullets there. They searched for 
my satisfaction, and sure enough it all came out just as 
I had told them ; for I had picked up a bullet that had 
been fired, and stuck it deep into the hole, without any 
one perceiving it. They were all perfectly satisfied, that 
fame had not made too great a flourish of trumpets when 
speaking of me as a marksman ; and they all said they 
had enough of shooting for that day, and they moved, 
th at we adjourn to the tavern and liquor. 

We had scarcely taken drinks round before the land- 
lord announced that dinner was ready, and I was 
escorted into the dining room by the committee, to the 
tune of *' See the conquering hero comes/' played upon 
a drum, which had been beaten until it got a fit of 
the sullens, and refused to send forth any sound ; and it 
was accompanied by the weasing of a fife that was sadly 

32 COLONEL Crockett's 

troubled with a spell of the asthma. I was escorted into 
the dining room, I say, somewhat after the same fashion 
that ^* the Government*' was escorted into the different 
cities when he made his northern tour ; the only differ- 
ence was, that I had no sycophants about me, but true 
hearted hospitable friends, for it was pretty well known 
that I had, for the present, abandoned all intention of 
running for the Presidency against the Little Flying 

The dinner was first-rate. The bear meat, the veni- 
son, and wild turkey would have tempted a man who 
had given over the business of eating altogether ; and 
every thing was cooked to the notch precisely. The 
enterprising landlord did himself immortal honour on this 
momentous occasion ; and the committee, thinking that 
he merited public thanks for his patriotic services, handed 
his name to posterity to look at in the lasting columns of 
the Little Rock Gazette ; and when our children's chil- 
dren behold it, they will think of the pure patriots who 
sit down in good fellowship to feast on the bear meat 
and venison ; and the enthusiasm the occasion is calcu- 
lated to awaken will induce them to bless the patriot who, 
in a cause so glorious, spared no pains in cooking the 
dinner, and serving it in a becoming manner. — And this 
18 fame I 

The fragments of the meats being cleared off, we went 
through the customary evolution of drinking thirteen 
regular toasts, after every one of which our drum with 
the loose skin grumbled like an old horse with an empty 
stomach ; and our asthmatic fife squeaked like a stuck 
pig, a spirit-stirring tune, which we put off christening 

legg^g—pgi uoiaj'j 


until we should come to prepare our proceedings for 
posterity. The fife appeared to have hut one tune in it ; 
possihly it mought have had more^ hut the poor fifer, 
with all his puffing and hlowing, his too-too-tooing, and 
shaking his head and elhow, could not, for the hody and 
soul of him, get more than one out of it« If the fife 
had had an extra tune to its name, sartin it wouldn't 
have heen quite so hide-hound on such an occasion, hut 
have let us have it, good, bad, or indifferent. We warn't 
particular by no means. 

Having gone through with the regular toasts, the 
president of the day drank, '< Our distinguished guest, 
Col. Crockett," which called forth a prodigious clattering 
all around the table, and I soon saw that nothing would 
do, but I must get up and make them a speech. I bad 
no sooner elongated my outward Adam, than they at it 
again, with renewed vigour, which made me sort of feel 
that I was still somebody, though no longer a member of 

In my speech I went over the whole history of the 
present administration ; took a long shot at the fiying 
deposites, and gave an outline, a sort of charcoal sketch, 
of the political life of " the Government's** heir pre- 
sumptive. I also let them know how I had been ras- 
called out of my election, because I refused to bow down 
to the idol ; and as I saw a number of young politicians 
around the table, I told them, that I would lay down a 
few rules for their guidance, which, if properly attended 
to, could not fail to lead them on the highway to dis- 
tinction and public honour. I told them, that I was an 
old hand at the business, and as I was about to retire for 
a time, I would give them a little instruction gratis, for I 



was up to all the tricks of the tradei though I had prac- 
tised but few. 

<< Attend all public meetings/' says I, " and get some 
friend to move that you take the chair ; if you fail in 
this attempt* make a push to be appointed secretary ; the 
proceedings of course will be published, and your name 
is introduced to the public. But should you fail in both 
undertakingSi get two or three acquaintances* over a 
bottle of whisky, to pass some resolutions, no matter on 
what subject ; publish them, even if you pay the printer 
—it will answer the purpose of breaking the ice, which 
is the main point in these matters. Intrigue until you 
are elected an officer of the militia ; this is the second 
step toward promotion, and can be accomplished with- 
ease, as I know an instance of an election being adver^^ 
tised, and no one attending, the innkeeper at whose 
house it was to be held, having a military turn, elected 
himself colonel of his regiment.*' Says I, ** You may. 
not accomplish your ends with as little difficulty, but do 
not be discouraged— Rome wasn't built in a day. 

** If your ambition or circumstances compel you to 
serve your country, and earn three dollars a day, by^ 
becoming a member of the legislature, you must first 
publicly avow that the constitution of the state is a 
shackle upon free and liberal legislation ; and is, there* 
fore, of as little use in the present enlightened age, as 
an old almanac of the year in which the instrument was 
framed. There is policy in this measure, for by making 
the constitution a mere dead letter, your headlong pro- 
ceedings will be attributed to a bold and unshackled 
mind ; whereas, it might otherwise be thought they arose 
from sheer mulish ignorance. ' The Government' has 



set the example in his attack upon the constitution of 
the United States, and who should fear to follow where 
' the Government' leads? 

** When the day of election approaches, visit your 
constituents far and wide. Treat liberally, and drink 
freely, in order to rise in their estimation, though you 
fall in your own. True^ you may be called a drunken 
dog by some of the clean shirt and silk stocking gentry, 
but the real rough necks will style you a jovial fellow, — 
their votes are certain, and frequently count double. Do 
all you can to appear to advantage in the eyes of the 
women. That's easily done — you have but to kiss and 
slabber their children, wipe their noses, and pat them on 
the head ; this cannot fail to please their mothers, and 
you may rely on your business being done in that 

<< Promise all that is asked," said I, << and more if you 
can think of any thing. Offer to build a bridge or a 
church, to divide a county, create a batch of new offices, 
make a turnpike, or any thing they like. Promises cost 
nothing, therefore deny nobody who has a vote or suf-* 
ficient influence to obtain one. 

*< Get up on all occasions, and sometimes on no occa- 
sion at all, and make l9ng*winded speeches, though com- 
posed of nothing else than wind — talk of your devotion 
to your country, your modesty and disinterestedness, or 
on any such fanciful subject. Rail against taxes of all 
kinds, office-holders, and bad harvest weather ; and wind 
up with a flourish about the heroes who fought and hied 
for our liberties in the times that tried men's souls. To 
be sure you run the risk of being considered a bladder 
of wind, or an empty barrel ; but never mind that, you 


will find enough of the same fraternity to keep jou in 

'* If any charity be going forward, be at the top of it, 
provided it is to be advertised publicly ; if not, it isn't 
worth your while« None but a fool would place his can- 
dle under a bushel on such an occasion. 

'< These few directions/* said I, *' if properly attended 
to> will do your business; and when once elected, why 
a fig for the dirty children, the promises, the bridges, 
the churches, the taxes, the offices, and the subscriptions, 
for it is absolutely necessary to forget all these before 
you can become a thorough-going politician, and a patriot 
of the first water." 

My speech was received with three times three, and 
all that; and we continued speechifying and drinking 
until nightfall, when it was put to vote, that we would 
have the puppet show over again, which was carried nem. 
con. The showman set his wires to work, just as " the 
Government" does the machinery in his big puppet 
show ; and we spent a delightful and rational evening. 
We raised a subscription for the poor showman ; and I 
went to bed, pleased and gratified with the hospitality 
and kindness of the citizens of Little Rock. There are 
some first-rate men there, of the real half-horse, half- 
alligator breed, with a sprinkling of the steam-boat, 
and such as grow nowhere on the face of the universal 
earth, but just about the back-bone of North America. 



The day after our public dinner I determined to leave 
my hospitable friends at Little Rock, and cross Arkansas 
to Fulton on the Red River, a distance of about one 
hundred and twenty miles* They wanted me to stay 
lon^r; and the gentleman who had the reputation of 
being the best marksman in those parts was most par- 
ticularly anxious that we should have another trial of 
skill ; but says I to myself, *< Crockett, youVe had just 
about glory enough for one day, so take my advice, and 
leave well enough alone.'* I declined shooting, for there 
was nothing at all to be gained by it, and I might pos- 
sibly lose some little of the reputation I had acquired. I 
have always found that it is a very important thing for a 
man who is fairly going ahead, to know exactly how far 
to go, and when to stop. Had ^' the Government" stopped 
before he meddled with the constitution, the deposites, 
and " taking the responsibility,*' he would have retired 
from office with almost as much credit as he entered 
upon it, which is as much as any public man can reason- 
ably expect. But the General is a whole team, and 
when fairly started, will be going ahead ; and one might 
as well attempt to twist a streak of lightning into a true 
lover's knot as to i>top him. 

finding that I was bent on going, for I became im- 
patient to get into Texas, my kind friends at Little Rock 
procured me a good horse to carry me across to Red 
River. There are no bounds to the good feeling of the 
pioneers of the west; they consider nothing a trouble 


that will confer a favour upon a stranger that thejr chance 
to take a fancy to : true, we are something like chestnut 
burs on the outside, rather prickly if touched roughly, 
but there's good fruit within. 

My horse was brought to the door of the tavern, 
around which many of the villagers were assembled. 
The drum and fife were plajring what was intended for a 
lively tune, but the skin of the drum still hung as loose 
as the hide of a fat man far gone in a consumption ; and 
the fife had not yet recovered from the asthma. The 
music sounded something like a fellow singing, << Away 
with melancholy,*' on the way to the gallows. I took 
my leave of the landlord, shook hands with the show- 
man, who had done more than an average business, kissed 
his wife, who had recovered, and bidding farewell to all 
my kind-hearted friends, I mounted my horse, and left 
the village, accompanied by four or Ave gentlemen. The 
drum and fife now appeared to exert themselves, and 
made more noise than usual, while the crowd sent forth 
three cheers to encourage me on my way. 

I tried to raise some recruits for Texas among my 
companions^ but they said they had their own affairs to 
attend to, which would keep them at home for the pre- 
sent, but no doubt they would come over and see us as 
soon as the disturbances should be settled. They looked 
upon Texas as being part of the United States, though 
the Mexicans did claim it ; and they had no doubt the 
time was not very distant when it would be received into 
the glorious Union. 

My companions did not intend seeing me farther on 
my way than the Washita river, near fifty miles. Con- 
versation was pretty brisk, for we talked about the affairs 


of the nation and Texas ; subjects that are by no means 
to be exhausted, if one may judge by the long speeches 
made in Congress, where they talk year in and year 
out ; and it would seem that as much still remains to be 
said as eyer. As we drew nigh to the Washita, the 
silence was broken alone by our own talk and the clatter- 
ing of our horses* hoofs , and we imagined ourselves 
pretty much the only travellers, when we were suddenly 
somewhat startled by the sound of music. We checked 
our horses, and listened, and the music continued. 
" What can all that mean ?" says I. " Blast my old 
shoes if I know. Colonel," says one of the party. We 
listened again and we now heard, ** Hail, Columbia, 
happy land V* played in first-rate style. ** That's fine," 
says I. *' Fine as silk. Colonel, and leetle finer," says 
the other ; " but hark, the tune's changed." We took 
Smother spell of listening, and now the musician struck 
up, in a brisk and lively manner, " Over the water to 
Charley.'* *• That's mighty mysterious,*' says one ; 
*' Can't cipher it out nohow," says another ; " A notch 
beyant my measure," says a third. *' Then let us go 
ahead,'* says 1, and off we dashed at a pretty rapid gait, 
I tell you — by no means slow. 

As we approached the river we saw to the right of the 
road a new clearing on a hill, where several men were 
at work, and they running down the hill like wild Indians, 
or rather like the office holders in pursuit of the deposites. 
There appeared to be no time to be lost, so they ran, 
and we cut ahead for the crossing. The music con- 
tinued all this time stronger and stronger, and the very 
notes appeared to speak distinctly, ** Over the water to 

40 COLONEL Crockett's 

When we reached the crossing we were struck all of 
a heap, at beholding a man seated in a sulky in the 
middle of a rirer, and playing for life on a fiddle* The 
horse was up to his middle in the water; and it 
seemed as if the flimsy vehicle was ready to be swept 
away by the current. Still the fiddler fiddled on com* 
posedly, as if his life had been insured^ and he was 
nothing more than a passenger. We thought he was 
mad and shouted to him. He heard us, and stopped his 
music. ** You have missed the crossing/* shouted one 
of the men from the clearing. ** I know I have/' re* 
turned the fiddler. ** If you go ten feet farther you will 
be drowned.'' '< I know I shall," returned the fiddler. 
** Turn back/' said the man. ** I can't," sud the other. 
** Then how the devil will you get out ?*' ** I'm sure I 
don't know : come you and help me." 

The men from the clearing, who understood the river, 
took our horses and rode up to the sulky, and after some 
difficulty, succeeded in bringing the traveller safe to 
shore, when we recognised the worthy parson who had 
fiddled for us at the puppet show at Little Rock. They 
told him that he had had a narrow escape, and he replied, 
that he had found that out an hour ago. He said he 
had been fiddling to the fishes for a full hour, and had 
exhausted all the tunes that he could play without notes. 
We then asked him what could have induced him to 
think of fiddling at a time of such peril ; and he replied, 
that he had remarked in his progress through life, that 
there was nothing in univarsal natur so well calculated 
to draw people together as the sound of a fiddle ; and he 
knewy that he might bawl until he was hoarse for assist- 
ancCf and no one would stir a peg ; but they would no 


sooner hear the scraping of his catgut, than they would 
quit all other business, and come to the spot in flocks. 
We laughed heartily at the knowledge the parson showed 
of human natur. And he was right. 

Having fixed up the old gentleman's sulky right and 
tight, and after rubbing down his poor jaded animal, the 
company insisted on having a dance before we separated. 
We all had our flasks of whisky ; we took a drink all round, 
and though the parson said he had had about enough 
fiddling for one day, he struck up with great good humour; 
at it we went, and danced straight fours for an hour and 
better. We all enjoyed ourselves very much, but came 
to the conclusion, that dancing wasn't altogether the 
thing without a few petticoats to give it variety. 

The dance being over, our new friends pointed out 
the right fording, and assisted the parson across the 
river. We took another drink all round, and after 
shaking each other cordially by the hand, we separated^ 
wishing each other all the good fortune that the rugged 
lotthat has been assigned us will afford. My friends retraced 
the road to Little Rock, and I pursued my journey ; and 
as I thought of their disinterested kindness to an entire 
stranger, I felt that the world is not quite as heartless 
and selfish as some grumblers would have us think. 

The Arkansas is a pretty fine territory, being about 
five hundred and fifty miles in length from east to west, 
with a mean width of near two hundred, extending over an 
area of about one hundred thousand square miles. The face 
of the country from its great extent is very much diversi- 
fied. It is pretty well watered, being intersected by the 
Arkansas river and branches of the Red, Washita, and 
White rivers. The Maseme mountains, which rise in 

42 COLONEL Crockett's 

Missouri, traverse Arkansas and extend into Texas. 
That part of the territory to the south-east of the 
Masemes is for the most part low, and in many places 
liable to be overflooded annually. To the north-west of 
the mountains the country presents generally an open 
expanse of prairie without wood, except near the bor-* 
ders of the streams. The seasons of the year partake of 
those extremes of heat and cold, which might be expected 
in so great an extent^ and in a country which affords so 
much difference of level. The summers are as remark- 
able as are the winters for extremes of temperature. 
The soil exhibits every variety^ from the most productive 
to the most sterile. The forest trees are numerous and 
large ; such as oak, hickory, sycamore, cotton-wood, 
locust, and pine. The cultivated fruit trees are the apple, 
pear, peach, plum, nectarine, cherry, and quince; and 
the various kinds of grain, such as wheat, rye, oats, 
barley, and Indian com, succeed amazing well. Cotton, 
Indian com, flour, pelti^, salted provisions, and lumber, 
are the staples of this territory. Arkansas was among 
the most ancient settlements of the French in Louisiana. 
That nation had a hunting and trading post on the 
Arkansas river as early as the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. Arkansas, I rather reckon, will be admitted 
as a state into the Union during the next session of 
Congress ; and if the citizens of Little Rock are a hit 
sample of her children, she cannot fail to go ahead. 

I kept in company with the parson until we arrived at 
Greenville, and I do say, he was just about as pleasant 
an old gentleman to travel with, as any man who wasn't 
too darned particular could ask for. We talked about 
politics, religion, and natur, farming and bear hunting. 


and the many blessings that an all bountiful Providence 
has bestowed upon our happy country. He continued 
to talk upon this subject, travelling over the whole 
ground as it were, until his imagination glowed, and his 
soul became full to overflowing; and he checked his 
horse, and I stopped mine also, and a stream of eloquence 
burst forth from his aged lips, such as I have seldom 
listened to : it came from the overflowing fountain of a 
pure and grateful heart. We were alone in the wilder- 
ness, but as he proceeded it seemed to me as if the tall 
trees bent their tops to listen ; that the mountain stream 
laughed out joyfully as it bounded on, like some living 
thing ; that the fading flowers of autumn smiled, and 
sent forth fresher fragrance, as if conscious that they 
would revive in spring; and even the sterile rocks 
seemed to be endued with some mysterious influence. 
We were alone in the wilderness, but all things told me 
that God was there. That thought renewed my strength 
and courage. I had left my country, felt somewhat like 
an outcast, believed that I had been neglected and lost 
sight of : but I was now conscious that there was still 
one watchful Eye over me ; no matter whether 1 dwelt 
in the populous cities, or threaded the pathless forest 
alone; no matter whether I stood in the high places 
among men, or made my solitary lair in the untrodden 
wild, that Eye was still upon me. My very soul leaped 
joyfully at the thought ; I never felt so grateful in all my 
life ; I never loved my God so sincerely in all my life. 
I felt that I still had a friend. 

When the old man finished I found that my eyes were 
wet with tears. I approached and pressed his hand, and 
thanked him, and says I, *' Now let us take a drink.'* 

44 COLONEL Crockett's 

I set him the example, and he followed it^ and in a style 
too that satisfied me, that if he had ever belonged to the 
Temperance society, he had either renounced membership 
or obtained a dispensation. Having liquored, we pro- 
ceeded on our journey, keeping a sharp look-out for mill 
seats and plantations as we rode along. 

I left the worthy old man at Greenville, and sorry 
enough I was to part with him, for he talked a great 
deal, and he seemed to know a little about every thing. 
He knew all about the history of the country ; was well 
acquainted with all the leading men ; knew where all the 
good lands lay in most of the western states, as well as the 
cutest clerk in the Land office ; and had traced most of 
the rivers to their sources. He was very cheerful and 
happy, though to all appearances very poor. I thought 
that he would make a first rate agent for taking up 
lands, and mentioned it to him ; he smiled, and pointing 
above, said, " My wealth lies not in this world." 

I mounted my horse, and pushed forward on my road 
to Fulton. When I reached Washington, a village a 
few miles from the Red River, I rode up to the Black 
Bear tavern, when the following conversation took place 
between me and the landlord, which is a pretty fair 
sample of the curiosity of some folks : — 

''Good morning, mister — I don't exactly recollect 
your name now," said the landlord as I alighted, 

** It's of no consequence," said I. 

<< I'm pretty sure IVe seen ye somewhere." 

** Very likely you may, I've been there frequently." 
' '* I was sure 'twas so ; but strange I should forget 
your name," says he. 

<' It is indeed somewhat strange that you should forget 
what you never knew/* says I. 


** It is unaccountable strange. It's what I'm not often 
in the habit of, I assure you, I have, for the most part, 
a remarkably detentive memory. In the power of people 
that pass along this way, I've scarce ever made, as the 
doctors say, a slapsus slinkum of this kind afore." 

•* Eh heh !" I shouted, while the critter continued. 

** Travelling to the western country, I presume, 
mister ?" 

** Presume any thing you please, sir," says I, << but 
don't trouble me with your presumptions." 

" O Lord, no, sir — I won't do that — I've no ideer of 
that — not the least ideer in the world," says he ; "I sup- 
pose you've been to the westward afore now ?" 

" Well suppose I have ?" 

** Why, on that supposition, I was going to say you 
must be pretty well — \ha,% is to say, you must know 
something about the place." 

**• Eh heh I" I ejaculated, looking sort of mazed full 
in his face. The tamal critter still went ahead. 

'^ I take it youre a married man, mister ?" 

** Take it as you will, that is no affair of mine," says I. 

'< Well, after all« a married life is the most happiest 
way of living ; don't you think so, mister ?" 

•* Very possible," says I. 

^* I conclude you have a family of children, sir?" 

*' I don't know what reason you have to conclude so. 

** O, no reason in the world, mister^ not the least, 
says he ; << but I thought I might just take the liberty 
to make the presumption, you know, that's all, sir. I 
take it, mister, you're a man about my age ?" 

^* Eh heh!" 

<< How old do you call yourself, if I may be so bold ?" 


46 COLONEL Crockett's 

" You're bold enoug-h, the devil knows/' says I ; and 
as I spoke rather sharp, the varment seemed rather stag^- 
gered, but he soon recovered himself, and came up to the 
chalk again. 

*' No offence^ I hope — I— I — I — wouldn't be thought 
uncivil by any means ; I always calculate to treat every- 
body with civility," 

" You have a very strange way of showing it/' 

^ True, as you say, I g^nnerally take my own way in 
these 'ere matters. — Do you practise law, mister, or farm* 
ing, or mechanicals?'* 

" Perhaps so," says I. 

** Ah, I judge so ; I was pretty certain it must be the 
case. Well, it's as good business as any there is fol- 
lowed now«a-days." 

<* Eh hehl" I shouted, and my lower jaw fell in 
amazement at his perseverance. 

'* I take it you've money at interest, mister ?" conti- 
nued the varment, without allowing himself time to 
take breath. 

" Would it be of any particular interest to you to find 
out ? " says I. 

" O, not at all, not the least in ' the world, sir. I'm 
not at all inquisitive about other people's matters ; I 
minds my own business — that's my way." 

** And a very odd way you have of doing it too." 

<( I've been thinking what persuasion you're of— whe- 
ther you're a Unitarian or Baptist, or whether you be- 
long to the Methodisses." 
" Well, what's the conclusion ? " 

^i Why, I have concluded that I'm pretty near right in 
my conjectures. Well, after all, I'm inclined to think 


they're the nearest right of any persuasion — though some 
folks think differently." 

^^ Eh heh I " I shouted again. 

^ As to pollyticks, I take it, you— «that is to say, I 
suppose you ^ 

*' Very Ukely." 

^^ Ah I I could have sworn it was so from the moment 
I saw you. I have a nack at finding out a man's senti- 
ments. I dare say, mister, you're a justice in your own 
country ?" 

^' And if I may return the compliment, I should say 
you're a just ass everywhere." By this time I began to 
get weary of his impertinence, and led my horse to the 
trough to water, but the darned critter followed me up. 

" Why, yes/* said he, " I'm in the commission of the 
peace, to be sure — and an officer in the militia — ^though 
between you and I, I wouldn't wish to boast of it." 

My horse having finished drinking, I put one foot in 
the stirrup, and was preparing to mount — '' Any more 
inquiries to make ?" said I. 

" Why no, nothing to speak on," said he. *' When 
do you return, mister ?" 

^' About the time I come back," said 1 ; and leaping 
into the saddle galloped off. The pestiferous varment 
bawled after me, at the top of his voice, — 

'^ Well, I shall look for ye then. I hope you won't fail 
to call." 

Now, who in all natur do you reckon the crittur was, 
who afforded so fine a sample of the impertinent curiosity 
that some people have to pry into other people's affairs ? 
I knew him well enough at first sight, though he seemed 
to have forgotten me. It was no other than Job Snel- 

48 coLONBL Crockett's 

ling, the manufacturer of cayenne pepper out of mahogany 
sawdust, and upon whom I played the trick with the 
coon skin. I pursued my journey to Fulton, and laughed 
heartily to think what a swither I had left poor Job in, 
at not gratifying his curiosity ; for I knew he was one of 
those fellows who would peep down your throat just to 
ascertain what you had eaten for dinner. 

When I arrived at Fulton, I inquired for a gentleman 
to whom my friends at Little Rock had given me a letter 
of introduction. I was received in the most hospitable 
manner ; and as the steam-boat did not start for Natchi- 
toches until the next day, I spent the afternoon in seeing 
all that was to be seen. I left my horse with the gen- 
tleman, who promised to have him safely returned to the 
owner ; and I took the steamboat, and started on my way 
down the Red river, right well pleased with my reception 
at Fulton. 


There was a considerable number of passengers on 
board the boat, and our assortment was somewhat like 
the Yankee merchant's cargo of notions, pretty particu- 
larly miscellaneous, I tell you. I moved through the 
crowd from stem to stern, to see if I could discover any 
face that was not altogether strange to me ; but after a 
general survey, I concluded that I had never seen one of 
them before. There were merchants and emigrants and 
gamblers, but none who seemed to have embarked in the 
particular business that for the time being occupied my 


mind — I could find none who were going to Texas. All 
seemed to have their hands full enough of their own 
affairs, without meddling with the cause of freedom. The 
greater share of gloiy will he mine> thought I^ so go 
ahead, Crockett. 

I saw a small cluster of passengers at one end of the 
hoat, and hearing an occasional burst of laughter, thinks 
I there's some sport started in that quarter, and having 
nothing better to do, 1*11 go in for my share of it. Ac- 
cordingly I drew nigh to the cluster^ and seated on a 
chest was a tall lank sea sarpent looking blackleg, who 
had crawled over from Natchez under the hill^ and was 
amusing the passengers with his skill at thimblerig : at 
the same time he was picking up their shillings just about 
as expeditiously as a hungry gobbler would a pint of 
com. He was doing what might be called an average 
business in a small way, and lost no time in gathering 
up the fragments. 

I watched the whole process for some time, and found 
that he had adopted the example set by the old tempter 
himself, to get the weather-gage of us poor weak mortals. 
He made it a point to let his victims win always the first 
stake, that they might be tempted to go ahead ; and then, 
when they least suspected it, he would come down upon 
them like a hurricane in a cornfield, sweeping all before 

I stood looking on, seeing him pick up the chicken 
feed from the greenhorns, and thought if men are such 
darned fools as to be cheated out of their hard earnings 
by a fellow who had just brains enough to pass a pea 
from, one thimble to another, with such sleight of hand, 
that you could not tell under which he had deposited it ; 


50 OOUmSli ClMWnTT 8 

it is not avtoniahii^ that the magidaii of KwulnriMmk 
shoddpby tiiimblevig iqion thelHgfigiire» aiid a^ 
cheat the whole nation. I thooght that ^ the Govern- 
nieot" was playing the aame game with the depoaitea, and 
with socfa address too, that before long it will bea hard 
matter to find them nnder any of the thimbles where it 
is supposed they have been oiiginally pUoed. 

The thimble conjorer saw me looking on, and eyeing 
me as if he thought I woold be a good subjeet, said care^ 
lessly, " Come stranger, won't you take a chanoe ?" the 
whole time passing the pea from one thimble to the other, 
by way of throwing oat a bait for the gudgeons to bite 
at. '^I never gamble, stranger," says I, "principled 
against it ; think it a slippery way of getting through the 
world at best." " Them are my sentimenta to a notch," 
says he ; ** but this is not gambling by no means. A 
little innocent pastime, nothing more. Better take a 
hack by way of trying your luck at guessing.'' All this 
time he continued working with bis thimbles ; first putting 
the pea under one, which was plain to be seen, and then 
uncovering it, would show that the pea was there ; be 
would then put it under the second thimble, and do the 
same, and then under the third ; all of which he did to 
show how easy it would be to guess where the pea was 
deposited, if one would only keep a sharp look-<rat 

'* Come, stranger," says he to me again, " you had 
better take a chance. Stake a trifle^ I don't care how 
small) just for the fon of the thing.*' 

'* I am principled against betting money,'* says I, ^* but 
I don't mind going infer drinks for the present company, 
for I am as dry as one of little Isaac HilFs regular set 


^ I admire your principle8>" says he, ^* and to show that 
I pky with these here thimUes just for the sake of pas* 
time, I will take that bet, though I'm a whole hog tcm-* 
penmoe man. Just say when, stranger.'* 

He contmued all the time slipfung the pea from one 
thimble to another; my eye was as keen as a lizard's, 
and when he stopped, I cried out, ^ Now ; the pea is under 
the middle thimble." He was going to raise it to show that 
it wasn't there, when I interfered and said, *^ Stop if you 
please,*' and raised it myself and sure enough the pea 
was there ; but it mought have been otherwise if he had 
had the uncovering c»f it. 

**' Sure enough you've won the bet," says he. " You've 
a sharp eye, but I don't care if I give you another 
chance. Let us go fifty cents this bout ; I'm sure you'll 


<^ Then you're a darned fool to bet> stranger^" says I ; 
*^ and since that is the case, it would be little better than 
picking your pocket to bet with you ; so I'll let it alone." 

«< I don't mind running the risk," said he. 

^ But I do," says I ; ^ and since I always let well 
enough alone, and I have had just about glory enough 
for one day, let us all go to the biur and liquor." 

Thiff called forth a kwd laugh at the thimble conju- 
rer^i expense ; and he tried hard to induce me to take 
just one chance more^ but he mought just as well have 
sung psalms to a dead horse> for my mind was made up ; 
and I told him, that I looked upon gambling as about the 
dirtiest way that a man could adopt to get through this 
dirty worid; and that I would never bet any thing 
beyond a quart of whiskey upon a rifle shot, which I 
considered a legal bet, and gentlemanly and rational 

D 2 


amusement. '* Bat all tbia cackling/' says I» ^ makes 
me very thirsty, so let us adjourn to the bar and 

He gathered up his thimbles, and the whole company 
followed us to the bar, laughing heartily at the con- 
jurer ; for, as he had won some of their money, they 
were sort of delighted to see him beaten with his own 
cudgel. He tried to laugh too, but his laugh wasn't at 
all pleasant, and ratlier forced. The barkeeper placed a 
big-bellied bottle before us ; and alter mixing our liquor, 
I was called on for a toast, by one of the compafiy, a 
chap just about as rough hewn as if he had been cut 
out of a gum log with a broad axe, and sent into the 
market without even being smoothed off with a jack 
plane,— one of them chaps who, in their journey through 
life, are always ready for a fight or a frolic, and don't 
care the toss of a copper which. 

<' Well, gentlemen," says I, <* being called upon for a 
toast, and being in a slave-holding state, in order to avoid 
giving offence, and running the risk of being Lynched, it 
may be necessary to premise that I am neither an abo- 
litionist nor a colonizationist, but simply Colonel Crock- 
ett, of Tennessee, now bound for Texas." When they 
heard my name^ they gave three cheers for Colonel 
Crockett; and silence being restored, I continued, 
'< Now, gentlemen, I will offer you a toast, hoping^ after 
what I have stated, that it will g^ve offence to no one 
present ; but should I be mistaken, I must imitate the 
< old Roman,' and take the responsibility. I offer, gen- 
tlemen. The abolition of slavery : Let the work first 
begin in the two houses of Congress. There are no 
slaves in the country more servile than the party slaves 


in Congress. The wink or the nod of their masters 
is all sufficient for the accomplishment of the most dirty 

They drank the toast in a style that satisfied me, that 
the Little Magician might as well go to a pig-sty for 
wool, as to beat around in that part for yoters ; they 
were all either for Judge White or Old Tippecanoe. 
The thimble conjurer having asked the barkeeper how 
much was to pay, was told there were sixteen smallers, 
which amounted to one dollar. He was about to lay 
down the blunt, but not in Benton's metallic currency, 
which I find has already become as shy as honesty with 
an office holder, but he planked down one of Biddle's 
notes, when I mterfered, and told him that the barkeeper 
had made a mistake* ^ 

'< How so ?" demanded the barkeeper. 

" How much do you charge,*' says I, ** when you re- 
tail your liquor ?" 

" A fipaglass." 

'< Well, then," says I, " as thimblerig here, who belongs 
to the temperance society, took it in wholesale, I reckon 
you can afford to let him have it at half price ?" 

Now, as they had all noticed that the conjurer went 
what is called the heavy wet, they laughed outright, and 
we heard no more about temperance from that quarter. 
When we returned to the deck the blackleg set to work 
with his thimbles again, and bantered me to bet ; but I 
told him. that it was against my principle, and as I had 
already reaped glory enough for one day, I would just 
let well enough alone for the present. If the " old Ro- 
man" had done the same in relation to the deposites and 
*' the monster," we should have escaped more difficul- 

54 coLONZL Crockett's 

ties tiltn all the cinuung of the Little Flying Dutchman, 
and Dick Johnion to boot, will be able to repair. I 
shouldn't be astonished if the new Vice President's head 
should get wool gathering, before tfaey hate half unra- 
Yolled the knotted and twisted thread of perplexities that 
the old general has spun,-^in which case his chamiiag 
spouse will no doubt be delighted^ for then they will be 
all in the family way. What a handsome display they 
will make in the White House 1 No doubt the first act 
of Congress will be to repeal the duties on Cologne atui 
lavender waters, for they will be in great demand about 
the Palace^ particularly in the dog days. 

One of the passengers hearing that I was ob board of 
the boat, came up to me, and began to talk about the 
affairs of the nation, and said a good deal in favour of 
*' the Magician,"^ and wished to hear what I had to say 
against him. He talked loud« which is the way with all 
politicians educated in the Jackson school ; and by his 
slang- whanging, drew a considerable crowd around us. 
Now, this was the very thing I wanted, as I knew I should 
not soon have another opportunity of making a political 
speech ; he no sooner asked to hear what I had to say 
against his candidate, than I let him have it, strong and 
hot as he could take, I tell you. 

** What have I to say against Martin Van Buren ? 
He is an artful, cunning, intriguing, selfishi speculating 
lawyer, who, by holding lucrative offices for more than 
half his life, has contrived to amass a princely fortune^ 
and is now seeking the presidency, principally for sordid 
GAIN, and to gratify the most selfish ambition. His 
fame is unknown to the history of our country, except as 
a most adroit political manager and successful office 


•hunter. He never tcmk up arms in defence of his conn- 
try« in her days of darkness and peril. He never con- 
tributed a dollar of his surplus wealth to assist her in her 
hours of greatest want and weakness. Offics and 
MOKftY have been the gods of his idolatry ; and at their 
shrines has the ardent worship of hia heart been devoted^ 
from the earliest days of his manhood to the preient mo- 
ment. He can lay no claim to pre»eminent services 
as a statesman ; nor has he ever given any evidences of 
sapmor taknt, exoeptas a political eleotio&eerer and in- 
triguer. As a politidan, he is all things to all men. 
He is tor internal improvement, and against it; 
for the tarifl^ and against it ; for the bank monopoly, and 
against it ; for abolition of slavery, and against it ; and 
for any thing else, and against any thing else ; just as he 
can best promote his popularity and subserve his own 
private interest He is so totally destitute of moral cou- 
rage, that he nevw dares to give an opinion upon any 
important question until he first finds out whether it will 
be popular, fit not He is celebrated as the < Little Non 
Committal Magician,' because he enlists on no side of 
any question until he discovers which is the strongest 
party ; and then always moves in so cautious, sly, and 
secret a manner, that he can change sides at any time, as 
easily as a juggler or a magician can play off his arts of 

« Who is Martin Van Buren ? He is the candidate 
of the office holders and office expectants, who nominat- 
ed him for the presidency, at a convention assembled in 
the city of Baltimore, in May last. The first account we 
Jfiave of his political life is while he was a member of the 
Senate of New York, at 'the time when Mr. Clinton was 
nominated as the federal candidate for the presidency, in 


opposition to Mr. Madison. The support he then gare 
Mr. Clinton afforded abundant evidence of that spirit of 
opposition to the institutions of his country, which was 
prominently developed in the conduct of those with 
whom he was united. Shortly alter the success of Mr. 
Madison, and during the prosecution of the war^ Rufus 
King, of New York, (for whom Mr. Van Buren voted,) 
was elected to the Senate of the United States, avowedly 
opposed to the administration* Upon his entrance into 
that body, instead of devoting his energies to maintain 
the war, he commenced a tirade of abuse against the 
administration for having attempted relief to the oppress- 
ed seamen of our gallant navy, who had been compelled 
by British violence to arm themselves against their coun« 
try, their firesides, and their friends. Thus Martin Van 
Buren countenanced, by his vote in the Senate of New 
York, an opposition to that war, which, a second time, 
convinced Great Britain that Americans could not be 
awed into bondage and subjection. 

<< Subsequent to this time, Mr. Van Buren became 
himself a member of the United States Senate, and, 
while there, opposed every proposition to improve the 
west^ or to add to her num^cal strength. 

« He voted against the continuance of the national 
road through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and o^atiw^ appro- 
priations for its preservation. 

*< He voted against the graduation of the price of the 
public lands. 

<<He voted against ceding the refuse lands to the 
states in which they lie. 

<^ He voted against making donations of the lands to 
actual settlers. 



'< He again voted against ceding the refase lands, not 
worth twenty-five cents per acre, to the new states for 
purposes of education and internal improvement. 

'* He voted against the hill providing * settlement and 
pre-emption rights' to those who had assisted in opening 
and improving the western country, and thus deprived 
many an honest poor man of a home. 

'* He voted against donations of land to Ohio, to pro- 
secute the Miami Canal ; and, although a member of the 
Senate, he was not present when the vote was taken upon 
the engrossment of the bill giving land to Indiana for her 
Wabash and Erie Canal, and was known to have op- 
posed it in all its stages. 

" He voted in favour of erecting toll gates on the na- 
tional road ; thus demanding a tribute from the west for 
the right to pass upon her own highways, constructed out 
of her own money — a thing never heard of before. 
. ^' After his term of service had expired in the Senate, 
he was elected Governor of New York, by a plurality of 
votes. He was afterwards sent to England as minister 
plenipotentiary, and upon his return was elected Vice- 
President of the United States, which office he now holds, 
and from which the office holders are seeking to transfer 
him to the presidency." 

My speech was received with great applause, and the 
politician, finding that I was better acquainted with his 
candidate than he was himself, for I wrote his life, shut 
his fly trap, and turned on his heel without saying a 
word. He found that he had barked up the wrong tree. 
I afterward learnt that he was a mail contractor in those 
parts, and that he also had large dealings in the Land 
office^ and therefore thought it necessary to chime in, with 

D 3 

58 COLONEL Crockett's 

his penny whistle, in the univenal chorus. There's a 
large band of the same description, but I'm thinking 
Uncle Sam will some daj find out that he has paid too 
much for the piper* 


After mjr speech, and setting my Ikce against gam- 
bling, poor Thimblerig was obliged to break off conjur* 
ing for want of customers, and call it half a day. He 
came and entered into conTersation with me, and I 
found him a good-natured intelligent fellow, with a keen 
eye for the main chance* He belonged to that nume* 
rous class, that it is perfectly safe to trust as fkr as a 
tailor can sting a bull by the tail-*but no farther. He 
told me that he had been brought up a gentleman ; that 
is to say, he was not instructed in any useftil pursuit by 
which he could obtain a lirelihood, so that when he 
found he had to depend upon hhnself fer the necessaries 
of life, he began to suspect, that dame Nature would 
have conferred a particular favour if she had consigned 
him to the care of any one else. She 'had made a very 
injudicious choice when she selected him to sustain the 
digpiity of a gentleman. 

The first bright idea that occurred to him as a speedy 
means of bettering his fortune, would be to marry an 
heiress. Accordingly he looked about himself pretty 
sharp, and after glancing from one fair object to another, 
finally his hawk's eye rested upon the young and pretty 
daughter of a wealthy planter. Thimblerig run his bra- 


ten face with his tailor for a new suiti finr he abounded 
more in that metallic currency than he did in either 
Benton's mint drops or in Biddle's notes $ and having the 
grentility of his outward Adam thus endorsed by his 
tailor — an important endorsement, by-the«wayi as times 
go^he managed to obtain an introduction to the planter's 

Our WcMTthy had the principle of going ahead istrongly 
developed. He i^as possessed of considerable addre88> 
and had brass enough in his face to make a wash-kettle ; 
and having once got access to the planter's house, it was 
no easy matter to dislodge him. In this he resembled 
those politicians who commence life as office holders ; 
they will hang on tooth and nail, and even when death 
shakes them o£f, you'll find a commission of some kind 
crumpled up in their (slenched fingers. Little Van 
appears to belong to this class-^there's no beating his 
snout from the public crib. Hell feed there while there's 
a grain of com left, and even then, from loi^ habit, he'll 
set to work and gnaw at the manger. 

Thimbl^g got the blind side of the planter, and every 
thing, to outward appearances, went on swimmingly. 
Our worthy ^boasted to his cronies that the business was 
settled, and thai in a few weeks he should occupy the 
elevated station in society that nature had desigpied him 
to Bdom» He swelled like the frog in the fable, or 
rather like Johnson's wife, of Kentucky, when the idea 
occurred to her of figuriqg away at Washington. But 
there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, says the 
proverb, and suddenly Thimblmg discontinued his visits 
at the planter's house. His friends inquii*ed of him the 
meaning of this abrupt termination of his devotions. 

60 COLONEL Crockett's 

*' I have been treated with disrespect,'* replied the 
worthy^ indignantlj. 

'< Disrespect ! in what way ? " 

'* My visits, it seems, are not altogether agreeable." 

'* But how hare you ascertained that ? " 

<* I received a hint to that effect ; and I can take a 
hint as soon as another.'* 

** A hint 1 — and have you allowed a hint to drive you 
from the pursuit ? For shame. Go back again.** 

'^ No, no, never I a hint is sufficient for a man of 
my gentlemanly feelings. I asked the old man for his 

<' Well, what followed ? what did he say ?" 

•« Didn't say a word." 

** Silence gives consent all the world over." 

*< So I thought. I then told him to fix the day." 

•' Well, what then ? " 

•< Why, then he kicked me down stairs, and ordered 
his slaves to pump upon me. That's hint enough for 
me, that my visits are not properly appreciated ; and 
blast my old shoes if I condescend to renew the ac- 
quaintance, or notice them in any way until they send 
for me.*' 

As Thimblerig*s new coat became rather too seedy 
to play the part of a gentleman much longer in real hfe, 
he determined to sustain that character upon the stage, 
and accordingly joined a company of players. He began, 
according to cmtom, at the top of the ladder, and was 
regularly hissed and pelted through every gradation, 
until he foimd himself at the lowest rowel *' This,'* 
said he, *' was a dreadful check to proud ambition ; " but 
he consoled himself with the idea of peace and quiet in 


his present obscure walk : and though he had no prospect 
of being elated by the applause of admiring multitudes^ 
he no longer trod the scene of mimic glory in constant 
dread of becoming a target for rotten eggs and oranges.-— 
" And there was much in that," said Thimblerig. But 
this calm could not continue for ever. 

The manager, who^ like all managers who pay salaries 
regularly, was as absolute behind the scenes as the " old 
Roman " is in the White House, had fixed upon getting 
up an eastern spectacle^ called the Cataract of the Ganges. 
He intended to introduce a fine procession, in which an 
elephant was to be the principal feature. Here a diffi- 
culty occurred. What was to be done for an elephant ? 
Alligators were plenty in those parts, but an elephant 
was not to be had for love or money. But an alligator 
would not answer the purpose ; so he determined to make 
a pasteboard elephant as large as life, and twice as 
natural. The next difficulty was to find members of the 
company of suitable dimensions to perform the several 
members of the pasteboard star. The manager cast his 
eye upon the long gaunt figure of the unfortunate 
Thimblerig^ and cast him for the hinder legs, the rump, 
and part of the back of the elephant. The poor player 
expostulated; and the manager replied, that he would 
appear as a star on the occasion, and would no doubt 
receive more applause than he had during his whole 
career. " But I shall not be seen," said the player. 
<* All the better,*' replied the manager, *< as in that case 
you will have nothing to apprehend from eggs and 

Thimblerig, finding that mild expostulation availed 
nothing, swore that he would not study the part, and 

6S cotommL cbockstt'« 

flccofdiiigljr duww it iqi in dignifisd difgoft* H0 Mid 
thai it was an oittniga iifKn tbe feeliiigt of tba pcoyd 
repraaaiitatiye of Shakapearcf'i liaroet to be oompeUad to 
plaj paatomima in tbe bhider parta of tbe noUeat animal 
tbat ever trod tbe atage* If itbadbeen tbelbreqaartort 
of tbe elepbanty it migbt poaaiUf liaye been made a 
apeaking part ; at anj rate> be migfat liare anorted tbiough 
tbe trunk, if notbing more; boty from tbe poaition be 
was to oocapff danmed tbe word oould be ntter, or even 
roar witb propriet j» He tfae r ef oi e poritirdy relbaed to 
aett aa he eonaidered it an inaolt to hia rapntation to 
tread tbe atage in audi a ebaracter ; and be looked upon 
tbe wbde affiur aa a profanation of the hptimaie dranuu 
The reaolt waa, onr worthy waa diaeliarged from tbe 
company^ and eonqwUed to commence hoeing another 

He drifted to New Orleana, and hired bhnadf aa 
marlwr to a gambling table* Here he remained but a 
few montha, for hia idoM of arithmetie differed widely 
from thoae of hia emploj^^ and accordingly they bad 
tome dificulty in balancing tbe caah-acconnt; for, when 
hia employer, in adding np Ab receiptay made it nought 
and carry two» Thimblerig inaiated that it ahoold be 
nought and carry one; and in order to prore that bewaa 
correct, be carried himaelf of^ and left nothing behind 

He now commenced probidonal blackleg on hia own 
hook, and took tip hia quartera at Natchea under the 
bill. Here he remained, doing buaineaa in a small way, 
until Judge Lynch commenced hit practice in that quarter) 
and made the place too hot for hia comfort. He shifted 
hatntatfam, but not having auficient capital to go tbe 


big figiire» he practued the game of thimblerig until be 
acquired considerable skill, and tiien commenced passing 
up and down the river in the steamboats ; and managed) 
by dose attention to buuness, to pick up a decent liveli- 
hood in the small waj from such as had more pence in 
their pockets than sense in their noddles. 

I found Thimblarig to be a plesant talkative fellow. 
He communicated the foregoing fiicts with as much 
indifference as if there had been nothing disgraceful in 
his career ; and at times he would chuckle with an air of 
triumph at the adroitness he had displayed in some of 
the knavish tricks he had practised. He looked upon 
this world as one vast stage, crowded with empirics and 
jugglers ; and that he who could practise his deceptions 
with the greatest skill was entitled to the greatest 

I asked him to give me an account of Natchez and 
his adventures there, and I would put it in the book I 
intended to write, when he gave me the following, which 
betrays that his feelings were still somewhat irritated at 
being obliged to give them leg-bail when Judge Lynch 
made his appearance* I give it in his own words* 

** Natchez is a Umd of fevers, alligators, niggers, and 
cotton bales : where the sun shines with force sufficient 
to melt the diamond, and the word ice is expunged from 
the dictionary, for its definition cannot be comprehended 
by the natives : where to refuse grog before breakfast 
would degrade you below the brute creation ; and where 
a good dinner is looked upon as an angel's visit, and 
voted a miracle: where the evergreen and majestic 
magnolia tree, with its superb flower, unknown to the 
northern climes, and its fragrance unsurpassed, calls 

64 coLOHBL Crockett's 

forth the adminition of every bdbolder; and the dark 
HUMS hangs in festoons from the forest trees like the 
drapery of a fonenl pall : where hears, the axe of young 
jackasses, are fondled in lien of pet dogs ; and knives, 
the length of a barber's pole, nsnrp the plaoe of tooth- 
picks : where the filth of the town is carried off by bos- 
zards, and the inhabitants are carried off by fevers: 
where nigger women are knocked down by the aoctioneer, 
and knocked up by the purchaser: where the poorest 
slave has plenty of yellow boys, but not of Bentmi's 
mintage ; and indeed the shades of colour are so varied 
and mixed, that a nigger is frequently seen black and 
blue at the same time. And such is Natches. 

''The town is divided into two parts, as distinct in 
character as they are in appearance. Natches on the 
hill, situated upon a high bluff overlooking the Afissisapp, 
u a pretty little town with streets regularly laid out, 
and ornamented with divers handsome public buOdings. 
Natchez under the hill-*where, O ! where, shall I find 
words suitable to describe the peculiarities of that unholy 
spot? "lis, in fact, the jumping*off place. Satan looks on 
it with glee, and chuckles as he beholds the orgies of bis 
votaries. The buildings are for the most part brothels, 
taverns, or gambling houses, and frequently the whole 
three may be found under the same roof. Obscene 
songs are sung at the top of the voice in aU quarters. 
I have repeatedly seen the strumpets tear a man's 
clothes from his back, and leave his body beautified with 
all the colours of the rainbow. 

<< One of the most popular tricks is called the * Spanish 
buriaL* When a greenhorn makes his appearance among 
them, one who is in the plot announces the death of a 


resident, and that all strangers must subscribe to the 
custom of the place upon such an occasion. They forth* 
with arrange a procession ; each person, as he passes 
the departed, kneels down and pretends to kiss the 
treacherous corpse. When the unsophisticated attempts 
this ceremony the dead man clinches him, and the 
mourners beat the fellow so entrapped until he consents 
to treat all hands ; but should he be penniless, his life 
will be endangered by the severity of the castigation* 
And such is Natchez under the hill. 

" An odd a£hir occurred while I was last there," con* 
tinued Thimblerig. *^ A steamboat stopped at the land* 
ing, and one of the hands went ashore under the hill to 
purchase provisions, and the adroit citizens of that de* 
lectable retreat contrived to rob him of all his money. 
The captain of the boat, a determined fellow, went ashore 
in the hope of persuading them to refund — ^but that cock 
wouldn't fight. Without farther ceremony, assisted by 
his crew and passengers, some three or four hundred in 
number, he made fast an immense cable to the frame 
tenement where the theft had been perpetrated, and 
allowed fifteen minutes for the money to be forthcoming ; 
vowing, if it was not produced within that time, to put 
steam to his boat, and drag the house into the river. 
The money was instantly produced. 

'* I witnessed a sight during my stay there," continued 
the thimble conjurer, ** that almost froze my blood with 
horror, and will serve as a specimen of the customs of 
the far south. A planter, of the name of Foster, con* 
nected with the best families of the state, unprovoked^ 
in cold blood, murdered his young and beautiful wife, a 
few months after marriage, He beat her deliberately to 

66 coLONxx. cxockstt'c 

death in a walk adjoining bis dwellings carried the body 
to the hut of one of his alavesi washed the dirt from 1^ 
p^wm^ and, assisted by his negroes^ buried h^ upon his 
plantation. Suspicion was awakenisd, the body disia*- 
terredy and thd tillain's guilt established. He fled» was 
otertaken^ and secured in prison. His trial was» by some 
device of the law, delayed until the third term of the 
court. At length it came on» and so clear and indis*> 
putable was the evid^noe^ that not a doubt was enter- 
tained of the result ; when^ by an oversight on the part 
of the sheriil^ who negteeted swearing into office his 
deputy who summoned the jurors the trial was abruptly 
discofitinued» and all proceedings agtunst Foster were 
suspended, or rather ended. 

" There ezisls, throughout the extreme south, bodies 
of nden who style themselves Lynchers* When an in^- 
vidual escapes punishment by some technicality of the 
law, or perpetrates an offence not recognised in courte of 
justice^ they seise him, and inflict sudi chastisement as 
they conceive adequate to the offence. They usually act 
at night, and duguise their persons. This society at 
Natohes embraces all the lawyers, physicians^ and prin* 
dpal merchants of the place. Foster, whom all good 
men loathed as a monster unfit to live» was called into 
court, and formally dismissed. But the Lynchers were 
at hand. The moment he stept from the court-house he 
was knocked down, bis arms bound behind him, his eyes 
bandaged, and in this condition was mardied to the rear 
of the town, where a deep ravine afforded a fit place for 
his punishment His clothes were torn from his back, 
his head partially scalped, they next boutid him to a 
tree ; each Lyncher was supplied with a cowskin^ and 


thej took turns at the flogging until the fl^sh hung in 
ribuidB from his body* A quantity of heated tar was 
then poured over his head) and made to eover every part 
of his person ; they Anally showered a sack of feathers on 
him» and in this horrid guise^ with no other apparel than 
a miserable piedr of breeches, with a drummer at his 
heels, he was paraded through the principal streets at mid- 
day. No disguise w&s assumed by the Lynchers ; the veiy 
lawyers employed upon his trial took part in his punish- 

'* 0¥ring to loog confinement his gait had become 
cramped> and his movements were very &hering. By 
the time the procession reached the most public part pf 
the tow<n, Foster fell down from exhaustion, and was al- 
lowed to lie there for a time^ without exciting the 
sympathies of any one,^— *an object of universal de- 
detestation. The blood, oo^ng from his Btripes, had 
become mix6d with the feathers and tar> and rendered 
his aspect still more horrible and loathsome. Finding 
him unable to proceed further, a common dray was 
brought, and with his back to the horse's tail, the drum- 
mer standing over him playing the Rogue's March, he 
was reconducted to prison, the only place at which he 
would be recdvedft 

** A guard wlu placed outside of the jail^ to give notice 
to the body of Lynchers when Foster m%ht attempt to 
escape, for they had determined on branding him on the 
forehead and cutting his ears off. At two o'clock in the 
rooming of the second subsequent day, two horsemen, 
with a led horse, stopped at the prison, and Foster was 
with difficulty placed astride. The Lynchers wished to 
secure him ; he put spurs to his beast and passed them. 
As he rode bv they fired at him ; a ball struck his hat. 


which WM thrown to the ground, and he escaped ; but if 
ever found within the limitft of the state, will be shot 
down as if a price was set on bis head. 

** Sighto of this kind/' continued Thimblerig, " are by 
no means unfrequent. I once saw a gambler, a sort of 
friend of mine, by-the-way, detected cheating at faro, at a 
time when the bets were running pretty high. They 
flogged him almost to death, added the tar and feathers, 
and placed him aboard a dug*out, a sort of canoe, at 
twelve at night ; and with no other instruments of navi* 
gation than a bottle of whbky and a paddle, set him adrift 
in the Mississippi. He has never been heard of since, 
and the presumption is, that he either died of his wounds, 
or was run down in the night by a steamer. And this b 
what we call Lynching in Natchez.*' 

Thimblerig had also been at Vicksburg in his time, 
and entertained as little liking for that place as he did for 
Natchez. He had luckily made his escape a short time be* 
fore the recent clearing-out of the sleight-of-hand gentry, 
and he reckoned some time would elapse before he would 
pay them another visit. He said they must become 
more civilised first. All the time he was talking to 
me he was seated on a chest, and playing mechanically 
with his pea and thimbles, as if he was afraid that he 
would lose the sleight unless he kept his hand in constant 
practice* Nothing of any consequence occurred in our 
passage down the river, and I arrived at Natchitoches in 
perfect health and in good spirits. 



Natchitoches is a post town and seat of justice for 
the parish of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and is situated on 
the right bank of the Red River. The houses are chiefly 
contained in one street, running parallel to the river ; and 
the population I should reckon at about eight hundred. 
The soil in this parish is generally sterile, and covered 
with pine timber, except near the margin of Red River, 
where the greatest part of the inhabitants are settled on 
the alluvial banks. Some other, though comparatively 
small, tracts of productive soil skirt the streams. An 
extensive body of low gpround, subject to annual submer- 
sion, extends along the Red River, which, it is said, will 
produce forty bushels of frogs to the acre, ¥dth alligators 
enough to fence it. 

I staid two days at Natchitoches, during which time 
I procured a horse to carry me across Texas to the seat 
of war. Thimblerig remained with me, and I found his 
conversation very amusing ; for he is possessed of hu- 
mour and observation, and has seen something of the 
world. Between whiles he would amuse himself with his 
thimbles, to which he appeared greatly attached, and oc- 
casionally he would pick up a few shillings from the 
tavern loungers. He no longer asked me to play with 
him, for he felt somewhat ashamed to do so, and he knew 
it would l)e no go. 

I took him to task in a friendly manner, and tried to 
shame him out of his evil practices. I told him that it 
was a burlesque on human natur, that an able-bodied 
man, possessed of his full share of good sense, should 

70 COLONEL Crockett's 

voluntarily debase himself and be indebted for subnst- 
ence to such pitiful artifice* 

<< But whaf s to be done, Colonel ?'' says he* <' Tm 
in the Sloogh of Despond, up to the very chin* A miry 
and slippery path to traveL" 

'* Then hold yonr head up,'' says I, ** before the slough 
reaches your lips." 

** But what's tfie use ?** says he ; << it's utterly impos- 
sible for me to wade through ; and even if I could, J 
should be in such a dirty pUght, thai it would defy all die 
waters in the Mississippi to wash me dean again* No," 
he added, in a desponding tone, ^ I should be like a live 
eel in a frying pan, Colonel, sort out of my element, if I 
attempted to live like an honest man at this time o* day." 

^ That I deny. It is never too late to become honest," 
said h *' But ev«i admit what yen say to be true- 
that you cannot live like an honest man,— *yon have at 
least the next best thing in your power, and no one can 
say nay to it." 

<< And what is that?" 

'< Die like a brave one* And I know not whether, in 
the eyes of the world, a brilliant death is not preferred 
to an obscure life of rectitude* Most men are remem- 
bered as they died, and not as they lived* We gaze with 
admiration upon the glories of the setting suv yet 
scarcely bestow a passing gUnce upon its noonday splen'* 

** You are right ; but how b this to be done?" 

<< Accompany me to Texas. Cut aloof from your de- 
grading habits and associates here, and in fighting for 
their freedom, regain your own*" 

He started from the table, and hastily gathering up 



the thimbles, with which he had been playing all the time 
I was talking to him> he thrust them, into his pockety and 
after striding two or three times aerosa the room^ sud- 
denly stopped, his leadra eye kindled, and grasping me 
by the hand ytolently, he exclaimed with an oath» << By 
T^-^'T^ I'll be a man again. Live honestly, or die bravely. 
I go with you to Texas/' 

I ^id what I could to confirm him. in bis resolution, 
and finding that the idea had taken bst hold of bis mind, 
I asked him to liquor, which be did not deoUne, notwith- 
standing the temperance habits that he boasted of; we 
then took ^ walk on the banks of the river. 

The evening preceding my departure from Natchi- 
toches, a gentleman, with a good horse and a light wag-< 
gon, drove up to the tavern where I lodged* Ho was 
eccompanied by a lady who earned ap infant in her arms. 
As they alighted, I recognised the gentleman to be the 
politician at whom I had discharged my last political 
speech, on board the boat coming down the Red Riv0r« 
We had let him out in our pas9age down, as he said he 
bad some business to transact some distance above Natch-» 
itoches. He entered the tavem« and seemed to be rather 
shy of me, so I let him go, as I had uo idea of firing two 
shots at such small game. 

The gentleman had a priva^ room, snd called for sup- 
per ; but the lady, who used every precaution to keep the 
cluld concealed from tbe view of any one, refused to eat 
supper, saying she was unwell* However, thegentlemaa 
made a. hearty mei^l, and excused the woman, saying, 
<< My wife is subject to a pain in the stomach, which has 
deprived her of her food." Soon after supper the gentloi 
man desired a bed to be prepared, which being done, they 
immediately retired to rest. 

72 COLONEL Crockett's 

About an hour before daybreak, next morning, the re<* 
pose of the whole inn was disturbed by the screams of the 
child. This continued for some time, and at length the 
landlady got up to see what it was ailed the noisy bantling. 
She entered the chamber without a light, and discovered 
the gentleman seated in the bed alone, rocking the infant 
in his arms, and endeavouring to quiet it by saying, 
** Hush my dear — ^mamma will soon return again." How- 
ever the child still squalled on, and the long absence of the 
mother rendered it necessary that something should be 
done to quiet it. 

The landlady proposed taking up the child, to see what 
was the reason of its incessant cries. She approached 
the bed, and requested the man to give her the infant, and 
tell her whether it was a son or a daughter ; but this 
question redoubled his consternation, for he was entirely 
ignorant which sex the child belonged to ; however, with 
some diflSculty, he made the discovery, and informed the 
landlady it was a son. 

She immediately called for a light, which was no sooner 
brought than the landlady began to unfold the wrapper 
from the child, and exclaim, '* O, what a fine big son you 
have got I '* But on a more minute examination they 
found, to their great astonishment, and to the mortifica- 
tion and vexation of the supposed father, that the child 
was a mulatto. 

The wretched man, having no excuse to offer, immedi- 
ately divulged the whole matter without reserve. He stated, 
that he had fell in with her on the road to Natchitoches 
the day before, and had offered her a seat in his vehicle. 
Soon perceiving that she possessed an uncommon degree 
of assurance, induced him to propose that they should 


pass as man and wife, to which she readily assented. No 
doubt she had left her own home in order to rid herself of 
the stigma which she had brought on herself by her lewd 
conduct ; and at midnight she had eloped from the bed, 
leaving the infant to the paternal care of her pretended 

Immediate search was made for the mother of the 
child, but in vain. And, as the song says, ** Single mis- 
fortunes ne*er come alone," to his great consternation and 
grief, she had taken his horse, and left the poor politician 
destitute of every thing except a fine yellow boy, but of a 
widely different description from those which Benton put 
in circulation. 

By this time all the lodgers in the tavern had got up 
and dressed themselves, from curiosity to know the occa- 
sion of the disturbance. I descended to the street in front 
of the inn« The stars were faintly glimmering in the 
heavens, and the first beams of the morning sun were 
struggling through the dim clouds that skirted the eastern 
horizon. I thought myself alone in the street, when the 
hush of morning was suddenly broken by a clear, joyful^ 
and musical voice, which sang, as near as I could catch 
it, the following scrap of a song : 

*' O, what is the time of the merry round year 
That is fittest and sweetest for love? 
Ere sucks the bee^ ere buds the tree ; 
And primroses by two, by three, 
Faintly shine in the path of the lonely deer, 
Like the few stars of twilight above." 

I turned towards the spot whence the sounds proceeded, 
and discovered a tall figure leaning against the sign post. 
His eyes were fixed on the streaks of light in the east ; 



bii miiid was abMrbed, and be was dcaii j miooiifcioiu of 
any one beiog near fahn* He continued bis song in so 
full and dear a tonc^ tbat tbe street le-ecboed : — 

" Wlien tbe bbMikbird sad dinsb, at early dmm, 
Pkdade fren Vtutj tfnj'^^ 
Amid dewj foentt and blandithmenfa, 
like a choir attmiiiig their instmmeiits. 
Ere the cnrtain of nature aside he drawn 
For the concert the Ifrehmg day.*' 

I now drew nigh enough to see him distinetlj. He was 
a young man not more than twenty-two. His figere was 
light and gracefnl* at tbe same time tbat it indicated 
strength and activity. He was dressed in a bunting shirt, 
which was made with uncommon neatness, and ornamented 
tastily with fringe. He held a highly finished rifle in bis 
right hand, and a bunting pouch, covered with Indian orna- 
ments, was slung across bis shoulders. His clean sbirtcollar 
was open, secured only by a black riband around bis neck. 
His boots were polished, without a soil upon them ; and 
on his head was a neat fur cap, tossed on in a manner 
which said, ** I don't care a d— ^n," just as plainly aa 
any cap could speak it. I thought it must be some popin- 
jay of a lark, until I took a look at bis countenance. It 
was handsome, bright, and manly. There was no mistake 
in that face. From tbe eyes down to bis breast be was 
sunburnt as dark as mahogany, while tbe upper part of 
hb high forehead was as white and polished as marble. 
Thick clusters of black hair curled from under bis cap. 
I passed on, unperoeived, and he continued his song : — 

*' In the green spring-tide, all tender and bright. 
When the snn sheds a kindlier gleam 
0*er velret bank, tbat tweet flowers prank, 
Tbat have fresh dews and sunbeams drank — 


Softest, and most chaflte* as enchanted light 
In the Yisions of maiden's dream." 

The poor politician, whose misfortunes had roused up 
the inmates of the tavern at such an unusual hour, now re- 
turned from the stable, where he had been in search of 
his horse and his woman ; but they were both among the 
missing. He held a whip in his band, and about a dozen 
men followed him, some from curiosity to see the result of 
the adventure, and others from better feelings. As he drew 
nigh to the front of the tavern, chafing with mortification 
at both his shame and his loss, his rage increasing to a 
flame as his windy exclamations became louder and louder, 
he chanced to espy the fantastic personage I have just 
described, still leaning against the sign post, carelessly 
humming his song, but in a lower tone, as he perceived 
he was not alone. 

The irritated politician no sooner saw the stranger 
against the sign post, whose self-satisfied air was in striking 
contrast with the excited feelings of the other, than he 
paused for a moment, appeared to recognise him ; then 
coming up in a blustering manner, and assuming a threat- 
ening attitude, he exclaimed fiercely — 

<' You're an infernal scoundrel — do you hear ? an hi- 
femal scoundrel, sir ! " 

'< I do, but it's news to me," replied the other, quietly. 

** News, you scoundrel I do you call it news ?" 

" Entirely so." 

'' You needn't think to carry it off so quietly. I say, 
you're an infernal scoundrel, and I'll prove it." 

" I beg you will not ; I shouldn't like to be proved a 
scoundrel," replied the other, smiling with most provoking 

E 2 


** No, I dare say you wouldn't. But answer me directly 
—did you, or did you not say, in presence of certain ladies 
of my acquaintance^ that I was a mere ** 

" Calf ?— O, no sir ; the truth is not to be spoken at all 

" The truth I Do you presume to call me a calf, sir ?" 

"O, no, sir; I call you nothing," replied the 

stranfjjfer, just as cool and as pleasant as a morning in 

<< It's well you do ; for if you had presumed to call 

me " 


'< A man, I should have been grossly mistaken.*' 

** Do you mean to say, I am not a man, sir ?" 

^* That depends on circumstances." 

*' What circumstances ?" demanded the other, fiercely. 

*< If I should be called as an evidence in a court of 
justice, I should be bound to speak the truth." 

*< And you would say, I was not a man, hey ? — Do you 
see this cow skin ?" 

<« Yes ; and I have seen it with surprise ever since you 
came up," replied the stranger, calmly, at the same time 
handing me his rifle, to take care of. 

** With surprise I" exclaimed the politician, who saw that 
his antagonist had voluntarily disarmed himself ;— '< Why, 
did you suppose I was such a coward, that I dare not use 
the article when I thought it was demanded ? 

'* Shall I tell you what I thought ? 

'* Do— if you dare." 

'* I thought to myself, what use has a calf for a cowskin? 
He turned to me, and said, " I had forgot, Colonel— shall 
I trouble you to take care of this also ?" Saying which 
he drew a long hunting knife from his belt, and placed it 



in my hand. He then resumed his careless attitude 
against the sign post. 

** You distinctly call me a calf, then ?*' 

<< If you insist upon it, you may." 

>< You hear, gentlemen," said he, speaking to the by- 
standers — '* Do you hear the insult ? — What shall I do 
with the scoundrel ?" 

** Dress him, dress him I" exclaimed twenty voices, with 
shouts and laughter. 

** That I'll do at once I" Then turning to the stranger, 
he cried out fiercely, ** Come one step this way, you rascal, 
and I'll flog you within an inch of your life." 

" I've no occasion." 

" You're a coward." 

" Not on your word." 

" I'll prove it by flogging you out of your skin." 

" I doubt it." 

<< I am a liar then— am I ?" 

*« Just as you please." 

" Do you hear that, gentlemen ?" 

" Ay, we hear," was the unanimous response. '< You 
can*t avoid dressing him now." 

*^ O, heavens I grant me patience ! I shall fly out of 
my skin." 

^' It will be so much the better for your pocket ; calf 
skins are in good demand." 

« I shall burst." 

** Not here in the street, I beg of you. It would be 

*' Gentlemen, can I any longer avoid flogging him ?" 

'* Not if you are able," was the reply. " Go at him." 

Thus provoked, thus stirred up, and enraged, the fierce 
politician went like lightning at his provoking antagonist. 


But before he coald strike a blow he found hhiiBelf dis- 
armed of his cowskin, and lying on his back nnder the 
spout of a neighbouring pump, whither the joang man 
had carried him to cool lus rage ; and before heconld re- 
coTer from his astonishment at soch nnexpeeted handlings 
he was as wet as a thrice drowned rat^ from the cataracts 
of water which his laughing antagonist had liberallj 
pumped upon him* His courage, by this time, had fairly 
oozed out ; and he declared, as he arose and went dripping 
away from the pump, that he would nerer again trust to 
quiet appearances ; and that the devil himself might, the 
next time, undertake to cowskin such a cucumber-blooded 
scoundrel for him. The bystanders laughed heartily. 
The politician now went in pursuit of his horse and his 
woman, taking his yellow boy with him ; and the land- 
lady declared that he richly deserved what he had got, 
even if he had been guilty of no other offence than the 
dirty imposition he had practised on her. 

The stranger now came to me, and calling me by name 
asked for his rifle and knife, which I returned to him. I 
expressed some astonishment at being known to him, 
and he said that he had heard of my being in the village, 
and had sought me out for the purpose of accompanying 
me to Texas. He told me that he was a bee hunter ; 
that he had travelled pretty much over that country in the 
way of his business, and that I would find him of conside- 
rable use in navigating through the ocean of prairies. 

He told me that honey trees are abundant in Texas, 
and that honey of an excellent quality, and in any quantity, 
may be obtained from them. There are persons 
who have a peculiar tact in coursing the bee, 
and thus discovering their deposites of the luscious 
food* This employment is not a mere pastime^but ia 


profitable. The wax alone, thus obtained, is a valuable 
article of commerce in Mexico, and commands a high 
price. It is much used in churches, where some of the 
candles made use of are as long as a man's arm. It often 
happens that the hunters throw away the honey, and 
save only the wax. 

*' It is a curious &ct," said the Bee hunter, " in the 
natural history of the bee, that it is never found in a wild 
ooun^, but always precedes civUixation, forming a kind 
of advance guard between the white man and the savage. 
The Indians, at least, are perfectly convinced of this fact, 
for it is a common remark among them, when they observe 
these insects — ^ There come the white men/ " 

Thimblerig came up, and the Bee hunter spoke to him, 
calling him by name, for he had met with him in New 
Orleans. I told him that the conjurer had determined 
to accompan} me also, at which he seemed well pleased, 
and encouraged the poor fellow to adhere to that re- 
solution ; for he would be a man among men in Texas, 
and no one would be very particular in inquiring about 
his fortunes in the States. If once there, he might boldly 
stand up and feed out of the same rack with the best. 

I asked him what was his cause of quarrel with the 
poliddan, and he told me that he had met him a 
few weeks before, down at Baton Rouge, where the 
fellow was going the big figure ; and that he had exposed 
him to some ladies, which completely cut his comb, and 
he took wing ; that this was the first time they had met 
since, and being determined to have his revenge, he had 
attacked him without first calculating consequences. 

With the assistance of our new Mend, who was a 
generous, pleasant fellow, we procured a horse and rifie 

80 COLONEL Crockett's 

for Tbimblerig ; and we started for Nacogdoches, whi<^ 
is about one hundred and twenty miles west of Natch- 
itoches, under the guidance of the Bee hunter. 


Our route, which lay along what is called the cM. 
Spanish road, I found to be much better defined on the 
map, than upon the lace of the country. We had, in 
many instances, no other guide to the path than the 
blazes on the trees. The Bee hunter was a cheerful 
communicative companion, and by his pleasant conversa- 
tion rendered our journey anything but fatiguing. He 
knew all about the country ; had undergone a variety of 
adventure, and described what he had witnessed with 
such freshness, and so graphically, that if I could 
only remember one-half he told me about the droves of 
wild horses, buffalo, various birds> beautiful . scenery of 
the wide spreading and fertile prairies, and his adventures 
with the roving tribes of Indians, I should fill my book, 
I am sure, much more agreeably than I shall be able to 
do on my own hook. When he'd get tired of talking, 
he'd commence singing, and his list of songs seemed to 
be as long as a rainy Sunday. He had a fine clear voice ; 
and though I have heard the Woods sing at the Park 
Theatre, in New York, I must give the Bee hunter the 
preference over all I have ever heard, except my friend 
Jim Crow, who,'it must be allowed, is a real steam boat at 
the business, and goes a leetle ahead of any thing that 
will come after him. 


He gave me, among other matters, the following 
account of a rencounter between one of the early settlers 
and the Indians : — 

** Andrew Tumlinson," said he, *^ belonged to a family 
which the colonists of De Witt will long remember as 
one of their chief stays in the dangers of settling those 
wilds, trod only by the children of the forest. This in- 
defiatigable champion of revenge for his father's death, 
who had fallen some years before by Indian treachery, 
had vowed never to rest until he had received satisfaction. 
In order the better to accomplish his end, he was one of 
the foremost, if possible, in every skirmish with the 
Indians ; and that he might be enabled to do so without 
restraint, he placed his wife under the care of his brother- 
in-law, shouldered his rifle, and headed a ranging party, 
who were resolved to secure peace to those who followed 
them, though purchased by their own death. 

** He had frequently been victorious, in the most des- 
perate fights, where the odds were greatly against him, 
and at last fell a victim to his own imprudence. A Caddo 
had been seized as a spy, and threatened with death, in 
order to compel him to deliver up his knife. The fellow 
never moved a muscle, or even winked, as he beheld the 
rifles pointed at him. He had been found lurking in the 
yard attached to the house of a solitary and unprotected 
femily, and he knew that the whites were exasperated at 
his tribe for injuries that they had committed. When 
discovered he was accompanied by his little son. 

•« TumKnson spoke to him in Spanish, to learn what 
had brought him there at such a time, but instead of 
giving any satisfaction, he sprung to his feet, from the 
log where he was seated, at the same time seiaing hi§ 

B 3 

82 COLONEL Crockett's 

rifle which was lying beside him. The owner of the 
house, with whom the Indian had been on a friendly 
footing, expostulated with him, and got him to surrender 
the gun, telling him that the whites only wished to be 
satisfied of his friendly intentions, and had no desire to 
injure one who might be usefbl in conciliating his red 

" He appeared to acquiesce, and wrapping his blanket 
more closely around his body, moved on in silence ahead 
of the whites. Tumlinson approached him, and though 
the rest of the party privately cautioned him not to go 
too nigh, as they believed the Indian had a knife under 
his blanket, he disregarded the warning, trusting for 
safety to his rifle and dexterity, 

** He continued to interrogate the captive until he 
awakened his suspicions that his life was not safe. The 
Indian returned no answer but a short caustic laugh at the 
end of every question. Tumlinson at length beheld his 
countenance become more savage, which was followed by a 
sudden movement of the right hand beneath his blanket. 
He fired, and the next instant the Caddo's knife was in his 
heart, for the savage sprung with the quickness of the 
wild cat upon his prey. The rifle ball had passed through 
the Indian's body, yet his victim appeared to be no more 
in his grasp than a sparrow in the talons of an eagle, for 
he was a man of gigantic frame, and he knew that not 
only his own life, but that of his little son, would be 
taken on the spot. He called to the boy to fly, while he 
continued to plunge his knife into the bosom of his pro- 
strate victim. The rest of the party levelled their rifles, 
and the victor shouted, with an air of triumph-—' Do 
your worst. I have sacrificed another pale face to th# 



spirits of my fathers.* They fired, and he fell dead 
across the body of the unlbrtunate Tumlinson. The 
poor boy fell also. He had sfurung forward some dis- 
tance^ when his father was shot, and was running in a 
sig-zag manner, taught them in their youth, to avoid the 
balls of their enemies, by rendering it difficult for the 
best marksman to draw a sight upon them." 

In order to afford me some idea of the state of 
society in the more thickly settled parts of Texas, the 
Bee hunter told me that he had set down to the break- 
fast table, one morning at an inn, at San Felipe, and 
among the small party around the board were eleven who 
had fled from the States charged with having committed 
murder. So accustomed are the inhabitants to the ap- 
pearance of fugitives from justice, that they are particu- 
larly careful to make enquiries of the characters of new- 
comers, and generally obtain early and circumstantial 
information concerning strangers. '* Indeed," said he, 
'< it is very common to hear the inquiry made, ^ What 
did he do that made him leave home ?' or, * What have 
you come to Texas for T intimating almost an assurance 
of one's being a criminal. Notwithstanding this state 
of things^ however, the good of the public, and 
of each individual, is so evidently dependent on the 
public morals, that all appear ready to discountenance 
and punish crime. Even men who have been expatriated 
by fear of justice, are here among the last who would be 
disposed to shield a culprit guilty of a crime against life 
or property." Thimblerig was delighted at this favourable 
account of the state of society, and said that it would be 
the very place for him to flourish in ; he liked their liberal 
way of thinking, for it did not at all tally with his ideoB 
of natural law, that a man who happened to give oflience 


to the strait-laced rules of action established by a set 
of people contracted in their notions, should be hunted 
out of all society, even though willing to conform to 
their regulations. He was lawyer enough, he said, to 
know that every offence should be tried on the spot 
where it was committed ; and if he had stolen the pennies 
from his grandmother's eyes in Louisiana, the people in 
Texas would have nothing to do with that affair, nohow 
they could fix it. The dejected conjurer pricked up his 
ears, and from that moment was as gay and cheerful as a 
blue-bird in spring. 

As we approached Nacogdoches, the first object that 
struck our view was a flag flying at the top of a high 
liberty pole. Drums were beating, and fifes plajring, 
giving an indication not to be misunderstood, of the 
spirit that had been awakened in a comparative desert. 
The people of the town no sooner saw us than many 
came out to meet us. The Bee banter, who was 
known to them, introduced me; and it seems that 
they had already received the news of my intended visits 
and its object, and I met with a cordial and friendly 

Nacogdoches is the capital of the department of that 
name, and is situated about sixty miles west of the river 
Sabine, in a romantic dell, surrounded by woody bluffs 
of considerable eminence, within whose inner borders, in 
a semicircle embracing the town, flow the two forks of 
the Nana, a branch of the Naches. It is a flourishing 
town, containing about one thousand actual citizens, al- 
though it generally presents twice that number on ac- 
count of its extensive inland trade, one-half of which is 
supported by the friendly Indians. The healthiness of 
this town yields to none in the province, except Bexar, 


and to none whatooever south of the same latitude, be- 
tween the Sabine and the Mississippi. There was a fort 
established here by the French, as far back as the year 
1717, in order to overawe the wandering tribes of red 
men, between their borders #and the colonists of Great 
Britain. The soil around it is of an easy nature and well 
adapted to cultivation. 

I passed the day at Nacogdoches in getting information 
from the principal patriots as to the grievances imposed 
upon them by the Mexican government ; and I passed 
the time very pleasantly, but I rather reckon not quite 
as much so as my friend the Bee hunter. In the even- 
ing, as I had missed him for several hours while I was 
attending to the affairs of the patriots, I inquired for my 
companion, and was directed by the landlord to an 
apartment appropriated to his family, and accordingly 
I pushed ahead. Before I reached the door I heard the 
joyous and musical voice of the young rover singing as 

'* I'd like to have a little farm, 

And leave such scenes as these, 
Where I could live, without a care, 

Completely at my ease. 
I'd like to have a pleasant house 

Upon my little farm. 
Airy and cool in summer time, 

In winter close and warm.** 

** And is there nothing else you'd like to have to make 
you happy, Edward?" demanded a gentle voice, which 
sounded even more musical in my ear than that of the 
Bee hunter. 

" Yes, in good faith there is, my gentle Kate ; and 
I'll tell you what it is/* he exclaimed, and resumed his 
song : — 


" Pd Uke to have a UtUe wife^ 

I reckon I know who ; 
I*d like to have a little son — 

A little daughter too ; 
And when they'd climh upon my knee» 

rd like a little toy 
To give my pretty little girl, 

Anolher for my boy." 

" O, fie, for shame of you to talk so, Edward I" ex- 
claimed the same gentle voice. 

«• Well, my pretty Kate, if you'll only listen now, 111 
tell you what I wouldn't like." 

" Let me hear that, by all means.** 

'* I should not like my wife to shake ^ 

A broomstick at my head — 
For then I might begin to think 

She did not love her Ned ; 
But I should always like to see 

Her gentle as a dove ; 
I should not like to have her scold— 

But be all joy and love.*' 

** And there is not much danger, Edward, of her ever 
being otherwise." 

" Bless your sweet lips, that I am certain of," exclaim- 
ed the Bee hunter, and I heard something that sounded 
marvellously like a kiss. But he resumed his song : — 

** If I had these I would not ask 

For anything beside ; 
rd be content thus smoothly through 

The tedious world to glide. 
My little wife and I would then 

No earthly troubles see — 
Surrounded by our little ones, 

How happy we would be." 


I have always endeavoured to act up to the golden 
rule of doing as I would be done by, and as I never liked 
to be interrupted on such occasions, I returned to the 
bar-room, where I found Thimblerig seated on a table 
practising with his thimbles, his large white Vicks- 
burg hat stuck in a most independent and impudent man- 
ner on the side of his head. About half a dozen men 
were looking on with amazement at his skill, but he got 
no bets. When he caught my eye his countenance be- 
came sort of confused, and he hastily thrust the thimbles 
into his pocket, saying, as he jumped from the table, 
** Just amusing myself a little. Colonel, to kill time, and 
show the natives that some things can be done as well 
as others. — Let us take an ideer.'* So we walked up to 
the bar, took a nip, and let the matter drop. 

My horse had become lame, and I found I would not 
be able to proceed with him, so I concluded to sell him 
and get another. A gentleman offered to give me a 
mustang in exchange, and I gladly accepted of his kind- 
ness. The mustangs are the wild horses, that are to be 
seen in droves of thousands pasturing on the prairies. 
They are taken by means of a lazo, a long rope with a 
noose, which is thrown* around their neck, and they are 
dragged to the ground with violence, and then secured. 
These horses^ which are considerably smaller than those 
in the States, are very cheap, and are in such numbers, 
that in times of scarcity of game the settlers and the 
Indians have made use of them as food. Thousands 
have been destroyed for this purpose. 

I saw nothing of the Bee hunter until bed-time, and 
then I said nothing to him about what I had overheard. 
The next morning, as we were preparing for an early 


ttart, I went into the privale apartment where my com- 
]Mmion was, bat he ^d not appear quite as cheerful as 
usual Shortly afterwards a young woman, about 
eighteen, entered the room. She was as healthy and 
blooming as the wild flowers of the prairie* My com- 
panion introduced me, she courtesied modestly, and 
turning to the Bee hunter, said, ^ Edward, I have made 
you a new deer skin sacksince you were last here. 
Will you take it with you ? Your old one is so soiled." 

** No, no, dear Kate, I shall not have leisure to gather 
wax this time/' 

** I have not yet shown you the fine large gourd that I 
have slung for you. It will hold near a gallon of water.*' 
She went to a closet, and producing it, suspended it 
around his shoulders. 

** My own kind Kate I" he exclaimed, and looked as 
if he would devour her with his eyes, 

** Have I forgotten anything ? -— Ah I yes, your 
books*" She ran to the closet, and brought out two 
small volumes. 

** One is sufficient this time, Kate— my Bible. I will 
leave the poet with you." She placed it in his hunting 
bag, saying, 

*' You will find here some biscuit and deer sinews, in 
case you should get bewildered in the prairies. You 
know you lost your way the last time, and were nearly 

** Kind and considerate Kate." 

I began to find out that I was a sort of fifth wheel to 
a waggon, so I went to the front of the tavern to see 
about starting. There was a considerable crowd there, 
and I made them a short address on the occasion. I 


told them, among other things, that '* I would die with 
my Betsey in my arms. No, I will not die— ^FU grin 
down the walls of the Alamo^ and the Americans will 
<.lick up the Mexicans like fine salt." 

I mounted my little mustang, and my legs nearly 
reached the ground. The thimble conjurer was also 
ready ; at length the Bee hunter made his appearance^ 
followed by his sweetheart^ whose eyes looked as though 
she had been weeping. He took a cordial leave of all 
his friends, for he appeared to be a general favourite ; 
he then approached Kate, kissed her, and leaped upon 
his horse. He tried to conceal his emotion by singing, 

'* Saddled and bridled, and booted rode he, 
A plume in his helmet, a sword at his knee.'* 

The tremulous and plaintive voice of Kate took up 
the next two lines of the song, which sounded like a 
prophecy : 

"But toom cam' the saddle all bluidy to see, 
And hame cam' the steed, but hame never cam* he." 

We started off rapidly, and left Nacogdoches amid the 
cheering of true patriots and kind friends. 


An hour or two elapsed before the Bee hunter re* 
covered his usual spirits, after parting from his kind little 
Kate of Nacogdoches. The conjurer rallied him good 
humouredly, and had become. quite a different man from 

90 coLONBL Crockett's 

what he was on the west side of the Sabine. He sat 
erect in his saddle, stuck his laige white ^cksburger 
conceitedly on his bushy head, carried his rifle with as 
much ease and grace as if he had been used to the 
weapon, and altogether he assumed an air of impudence 
and independence which showed that he had now a soul 
above thimbles. The Bee hunter at length recovered 
his spirits, and commenced talking very pleasantly, for 
the matters he related were for the most part new to me. 
My companions, by way of beguiling the tediousness 
of our journey, repeatedly played tricks upon each other, 
which were taken in good part* One of them I will 
relate. We had observed that the Bee hunter always 
disappeared on stopping at a house, running in to talk 
with the inhabitants, and mgratiate himself with the 
women, leaving us to take care of the horses. On reach- 
ing our stopping-place at night, he left us as usual, and 
while we were rubbing down our mustangs, and hobbling 
them, a negro boy came out of the house with orders 
from our companion within to see to his horse. Thimble- 
rig, who possessed a good share of roguish ingenuity, 
after some inquiries about the gentleman in the house, 
how he looked and what he was doing, told the boy, in 
rather a low voice, that he had better not come nearer to 
him than was necessary, for it was possible he might 
hurt him, though still he didn't think he would. The 
boy asked why he need be afraid of him. He replied, 
he did not certainly know that there was any reason— he 
hoped there was none— -but the man had been bitten by 
a mad dog, and it was rather uncertain whether he was 
not growing mad himself. Still, he would not alarm the 
boy, but cautioned him not to be afraid, for there might 


be no danger, though there was something rather strange 
in the conduct of his poor friend. This was enough for 
the .boy ; he was almost afraid to touch the horse of such 
a man ; and when» a moment afterward, our companion 
came out of the house, he slunk away behind the horse, 
and though he was in a great hurry to get him unsaddled, 
kept his eyes fixed steadily on the owner, closely watch- 
ing his motions. 

*< Take off that bridie»*' exclaimed the impatient Bee 
hunter, in a stem voice : and the black boy sprung off, 
and darted away as fast as his feet could carry him, much 
to the vexation and surprise of our companion, who ran 
after him a little distance, but could in no way account 
for his singular and provoking conduct. When we en- 
tered the house things appeared a great deal more strange ; 
for the negro had rushed hastily into the midst of the 
fainily> and, in his terrified state, communicated the 
alarming tale that the gentleman had been bitten by a 
mad dog. He, unconsciotts all the time of the trick that 
was playing off, endeavoured, as usual, to render himself 
as agreeable as possil^e, especially to the females, with 
whom he bad already formed a partial acquaintance. 
We could see that they looked on him with apprehension, 
and retreated whenever he approached them. One of 
them took an opportunity to inquire of Thimblerig the 
truth of the charge; imd his answer confirmed their 
fears, and redoubled their caution; though, after con- 
fessing, with apparent candour, that his friend had been 
bitten, he stated that there was no certainty of evil con- 
sequences, and it was a thing which of course could not 
be mentioned to the sufferer. 

As bed-time approached, the mistress of the house 


expressed her fears lest trouble should arise in the night ; 
for the house, according to custom, contained but two 
rooms, and was not built for security. She therefore 
urged us to sleep between him and the door, and by no 
means to let him pass us. It so happened, however, 
that he chose to sleep next the door, and it was with 
great difficulty that we could keep their fears within 
bounds. The ill-disguised alarm of the whole family 
was not less a source of merriment to him who had been 
the cause^ than of surprise and wonder to the subject of 
it. Whatever member of the household he approached 
promptly withdrew ; and as for the negpro, whenever he 
was spoken to by him, he would jump and roll his eyes. 
In the morning, when we were about to depart, we com- 
missioned our belied companion to pay our bill ; but as 
he approached the hotess she fled from him, and shut the 
door in his face. ^* I want to pay our bill," said he. 
**0l if you will only leave the house," cried she, in 
terror, ** you are welcome to your lodging." 

The jest^ however, did not end here. The Bee hunter 
found out the trick that had been played upon him, and 
determined to retaliate. As we were about mounting, 
the conjurer's big white Vicksburger was unaccountably 
missing, and nowhere to be found. He was not alto- 
gether pleased with the liberty that had been taken with 
him, and, after searching some time in vain, he tied a 
handkerchief around his head, sprung upon his horse, and 
rode off with more gravity than usual. We had rode 
about two miles, the Bee hunter bantering the other with 
a story of his hat lying in pawn at the house we had left, 
and urged upon him to return and redeem it ; but^ find- 
ing Thimblerig out of humour, and resolved not to 


return, he began to repent of his jest, and offered to go 
back and bring it, on condition that the past should be 
forgotten, and there should be no more retaliation. The 
other consented to the terms, so, lighting a cigar with 
his sun-glass, he set off at a rapid rate on his return. 
He had not been gone long before I presented Thimble- 
rig with his hat, for I had seen the Bee hunter conceal 
it, and, had secretly brought it along with me. It was 
some time before our absent friend overtook us, haying 
frightened all the £amily away by his sudden return, and 
searched the whole house without success. When he 
perceived the object of his ride upon the head of the 
conjurer, and recollected the promise by which he had 
bound himself not to have any more jesting, he could 
only exclaim — ^** Well, it's hard^ but it*s fair." We all 
laughed heartily, and good humour was once again 

Cane brakes are common in some parts of Texas. 
Our way led us through one of considerable extent. 
The frequent passage of men and horses had kept open 
a narrow path not wide enough for two mustangs to pass 
with convenience. The reeds, the same as are used in 
the northern states as fishing-rods, had grown to the 
height of about twenty feet, and were so slender, that, 
having no support directly over the path, they drooped a 
little inward, and intermingled their tops, forming a 
complete covering overhead. We rode about a quarter 
of a mile along this singular arched avenue, with the 
view of the sky completely shut out. The Bee hunter 
told me that the largest brake is that which lines the 
banks of Caney Creek, and is seventy miles in length, 
with scarcely a tree to be seen the whole distance. The 

94 coLONBL Crockett's 

reeds are eaten by cattle and horses in the winter, when 
the prairies yield little or no other food. 

When we came out of the brake we saw three black 
wolyes jogging like dogs ahead of us, but at too great a 
distance to reach them with a rifle. Wild turkeys and 
deer repeatedly crossed our path, and we saw several' 
droves of wild horses pasturing in the prairies. These 
sights awakened the ruling passion strong within me, 
and I longed to have a hunt upon a large scale; for, 
though I had killed many bears and deer in my time^ 
I had never brought down a buffalo in all my life, and so 
I told my friends ; but they tried to dissuade me from it, 
by telling me that I would certainly lose my way, and 
perhaps perish ; for, though it appeared as a cultivated 
garden to the eye, it was still a wilderness. I said little 
more on the subject until we crossed the Trinidad river, 
but every mile we travelled I found the temptation grow 
stronger and strongrer. 

The night after we crossed the xiv&c we fortunately 
found shelter in the house of a poor woman, who had 
little but the barest necessaries to offer us. While we 
were securing our horses for the night, we beheld two 
men approaching the house on foot. They were both 
armed with rifles and hunting knives; and, though I 
have been accustomed to the sight of men who have not 
stepped far over the line of civilisation, I must say these 
were just about the roughest samples I had seen any- 
where. One was a man of about fifty years old, tall and 
raw-boned. He was dressed in a sailor's round jacket, 
with a tarpaulin on his head. His whiskers nearly 
covered his face ; his hair was coal black and long ; and 
there was a deep scar across his forehead, and another on 


tbe back of his right hand. His companion, who was 
considerably younger, was bareheaded, and clad in a deer- 
skin dress made after our fashion. Though he was not 
much darker than the old man, I perceived that he was 
ail Indian. They spoke friendly to the Bee hunter^ for 
they both knew him, and said they were on their way to 
join the Texian fcH*ceS| at that time near the San Antonio 
river. Though they had started without horses, they 
reckoned they would come across a couple before they 
went much farther. The right of ownership to horse- 
flesh is not much regarded in Texas, for those that have 
been taken from the wild droves are soon after turned 
out to graze on the prairies, the owner having first 
branded them with his mark, and hobbled them by tying 
their fore feet together, which will enable another to cap- 
ture them just as readily as himself. 

The old woman set about preparing our supper, and 
apologised for the homely fare, which consisted of bacon 
and fried onions, when the Indian went to a bag and pro* 
duced a number of eggs of wild fowls, and a brace of fat 
rabbits, which were speedily dressed, and we made as 
good a meal as a hungry man need wish to set down to. 
The old man spoke very little ; but the Indian, who had 
lived much among the whites, was talkative, and mani- 
fested much impatience to arrive at the army. The first 
q[>portunity that occurred I inquired of the Bee hunter 
who our new friends were, and he told me that the old 
man had been for many years a pirate with the famous 
Lafitte, and that the Indian was a hunter belonging ta 
a settler near Galveston Bay. I had seen enough of 
' land-rats at Washington, but this was the first time that I 
was ever in company with a water-rat to my knowledge ; 

96 COLONEL Crockett's 

howerer, bating tbat black spot on his escatcheon, be was 
a well behaved and inoffensive nan. Viee does not Bppetar 
so shocking when we are £uniliar with the peqietrator of 

Thimblerig was for taking airs upon himself afier 
learning who our companions were, and protested to me^ 
that he would not sit down at the same table with a man 
who had outraged the laws in such a manner ; for it was 
due to society that honest men should discountenance such 
unprincipled characters, and much more to the same effect; 
when the old man speedily dissipated the gambler's indig- 
nant feelings by calmly saying, ** Stranger, you had better 
take a seat at the table, I think," at the same time draw- 
ing a long hunting knife from his belt, and laying it on 
the table. ** I think yon had better take some supper 
with us,'' he added, in a mild tone, but fixing his eye 
sternly upon Thimblerig. The conjurer first eyed the 
knife, and then the fierce whiskers of the pirate, and un- 
like some politicians, he wasn't long in making up his 
mind what course to pursue, but he determined to vote as 
the pirate voted, and said "I second that motion, stranger,'* 
at the same time seating himself on the bench beside me. 
The old man then commenced cutting up the meat, for 
which purpose he had drawn his hunting knife, though the 
gambler had thought it was for a different purpose ; and 
being relieved from his fears, everything passed off quite 

Early the following morning we compensated the old 
woman for the trouble she had been at, and we mounted 
our horses and pursued our journey, our new friends fol- 
lowing on foot, but promising to arrive at the Alamo as 
soon as we should. About noon we stopped to refresh 


our horses beneath a cluster of trees that stood in the 
open prairie, and I again spoke of my longing for a buffalp 
hunt. We were all seated on the grass, and they strived 
hard to dissuade me from the folly of allowing a ruling 
passion to lead me into such imminent danger and diffi- 
culty as I must necessarily encounter. All this time, while 
they were running down my weakness, as they called it, 
Thimblerig was amusing himself with his eternal thimbles 
and pea upon the crown of his big white hat. I could not 
refrain from laughing outright to see with what gravity 
and apparent interest he slipped the pea from one thimble 
to another while in the midst of a desert. Man is a queer 
animal, and Colonel Dick Johnson is disposed to make 
him even queerer than Dame Nature originally intended. 
The Bee hunter told me, that if I was determined to 
leave them, he had in his bag a paper of ground coffee, and 
biscuit, which little Kate of Nacogdoches had desired him 
to carry for my use, which he handed to me, and proposed 
drinking her health, saying that she was one of the kindest 
and purest of God's creatures. We drank her health, and 
wished him all happiness when she should be his own, 
which time he looked forward to with impatience. He 
still continued to dissuade me from leaving them, and all 
the time he was talking his eyes were wandering above, 
when suddenly he stopped, sprang to his feet, looked 
around for a moment, then leaped on his mustang, and 
without saying a word, started off like mad, and scoured 
along the prairie. We watched him, gradually diminishing 
in size, until he seemed no larger than a rat, and finally 
disappeared in the distance. I was amazed, and thought 
to be sure the man was crazy ; and lliimblerig, who con- 



tinued his game) respondedi that he was unquestiODabljr 
out of his head. 

Shortly after the Bee hunter had disappeared we heard 
a noise something like the rumbling of distant thunder. 
The sky was clear, there were no signs-of a storm, and we 
concluded it could not proceed from that cause. On turning 
to the west we saw an immense cloud of dust in the dis- 
tance, but could perceive no object distinctly, and still the 
roaring continued. '* What can all this mean ?" said I. 
*< Bum my old shoes if 1 know,*' said the conjurer, gather* 
ing up his thimbles, and at the same time cocking his 
large Vicksburger fiercely on his head. We continued 
looking in the direction whence the sound proceeded, the 
cloud of dust became thicker and thicker, and the roaring 
more distinct — ^much louder than was ever heard in the 
White House at Washington. 

We at first imagined that it was a tornado, but what- 
ever it was, it was coming directly toward the spot where 
we stood. Our mustangs had ceased to graze, and cocked 
up their ears in evident alarm. We ran and caught them, 
took off the hobbles, and rode into the grove of trees ; 
still the noise grew louder and louder. We had scarcely 
got under the shelter of the grove before the object ap- 
proached near enough for us to ascertain what it was. It 
was a herd of buffialo, at least four or five hundred in num- 
ber, dashing along as swift as the wind, and roaring as if 
so many devils had broke loose. They passed near the 
grove, said, if we had not taken shelter there we should 
have been in great danger of being trampled to death. 
My poor little mustang shook worse than a politician about 
to be turned out of office, as the drove came sweeping by. 
At their head, apart from the rest, was a blackbuU, who 


appeared to be their leader ; he came roaring along, his 
tail straight an end, and at tiroes tossing up the earth with 
bis horns. I never felt such a desire to have a crack at 
any thing in all my life. He drew nigh the place where 
I was standing; I raised my beautiful Betsey to my 
shoulder, took deliberate aim, blazed away, and he roared, 
and suddenly stopped. Those that were near him did so 
likewise, and the concussion occasioned by the impetus of 
those in the rear was such, that it was a miracle that some 
of them did not break their legs or necks. The black bull 
stood for a few moments pawing the ground after he was 
shot, then darted off around the cluster of trees, and made 
for the uplands of the prairies. The whole herd followed, 
sweeping by like a tornado, and I do say, I never witnessed 
a more beautiful sight to the eye of a hunter in all my life. 
Bear hunting is no more to be compared to it than Colonel 
Benton is to Henry Clay. I watched them for a few 
moments, then clapped spurs to my mustang and followed 
in their wake, leaving Thimblerig behind me. 

I followed on the trail of the herd for at least two hours, 
by which time the moving mass appeared like a small 
cloud in the distant horizon. Still, I followed, my whole 
mind absorbed by the excitement of the chase, until the 
object was entirely lost in the distance. I now paused to 
allow my mustang to breathe, who did not altogether fancy 
the rapidity of my movements, and to consider which course 
I would have to take to regain the path I had abandoned. 
I might have retraced my steps by following the trail of 
the buffalos, but it has always been my principle to go 
ahead, and so I turned to the west and pushed forward. 

I had not rode more than an hour before I found that 
I was as completely bewildered as " the Government" was 

F 2 

100 COLONEL Crockett's 

when be entered upon an examination of the Post office 
accounts. I looked aronnd^ and there was, as far as the 
eye could reach, spread before me a country apparently in 
the highest state of cultivation. Extended fields, beautifdl 
and productive, groves of trees cleared from the under- 
wood, and whose margins were as regular as if the art and 
taste of man had been employed upon them. But there 
was no other evidence that the sound of the axe, or the 
voice of man, had ever here disturbed the solitude of 
nature. My eyes would have cheated my senses into the 
belief that I was in an earthly paradise, but my fears told 
me that I was in a wilderness. 

I pushed along, following the sun, for I had no compass 
to guide me, and there was no other path than that which 
my mustang made. Indeed, if I had found a beaten track, 
I should have been almost afraid to have followed it; for 
my friend the Bee hunter had told me, that once, when he 
had been lost in the prairies, he had accidentally struck 
into his own path, and had travelled around and around 
for a whole day before he discovered his error. This I 
thought was a poor way of going ahead ; so I determined 
to make for the first large stream, and follow its course. 

I had travelled several hours without seeing the trace 
of a human being, and even game was almost as scarce as 
Benton's mint drops, except just about election time, and 
I began to wish that I had followed the advice of my com- 
panions. I was a good deal bothered to account for the 
abrupt manner in which the Bee hunter had absconded ; 
and I felt concerned for the poor thimble conjurer, who 
was left alone, and altogether unaccustomed to the diffi- 
culties that he would have to encounter. While my mind 
was occupied with these unpleasant reflections, I was sud* 


denly startled by another novelty quite as g^reat as that 
I have just described. 

I had just emerged from a beautiful grove of trees, and 
was entering upon an extended prairie, which looked like 
the luxuriant meadows of a thrifty farmer; and as if 
nothing should be wanting to complete the delusion, but 
a short distance before me there was a drove of about one 
hundred beautiful horses quietly pasturing. It required 
some effort to convince my mind that man had no agency 
in this. But when I looked around, and fully realized it 
all, I thought of him who had preached to me in the wilds 
of the Arkansas, and involuntarily exclaimed, '* God, 
what hast thou not done for man, and yet how little he 
does for thee I Not even repays thee with gratitude I" 

I entered upon the prurie. The mustangs no sooner 
espied me than they raised their heads, whinnied, and 
began coursing around me in an extended circle, which 
gradually became smaller and smaller, until they closely 
surrounded me. My little rascally mustang enjoyed, the 
sport, and felt disposed to renew his acquaintance with his 
wild companions ; first turning his head to one, then to 
another, playfully biting the neck of this one, rubbing 
noses with that one, and kicking up his heels at a third. 
I began to feel rather uncomfortable, and plied the spur 
pretty briskly to get out of the mess, but he was as obsti- 
nate as the ** old Roman" himself, who would be neither 
led nor driven. I kicked, and he kicked, but fortunately 
he became tired first, and he made one start, intending to 
escape from the annoyance if possible. As I had an an- 
noyance to escape from likewise, I beat the devil's tattoo 
on his ribs, that he might have some music to dance to. 

102 COLONEL Crockett's 

and we went ahead right merrily, the whole drove follow- 
ing in our wake, head up, and tail and mane streaming. 
My little critter, who was hoth hlood and bottom, seemed 
delighted at being at the head of the heap ; and having 
once got fairly started, I wish I may be shot if I did not find 
it impossible to stop him. He kept along, tossing his 
head proudly, and occasionally neighing, as much as to 
say, " Come on, my hearties, you see I ha'n't forgot our 
old amusement yet." And they did come on with a 
vengeance, clatter, clatter, clatter, as if so many fiends had 
broke loose. The prairie lay extended before me as far 
as the eye could reach, and I began to think that there 
would be no end to the race. 

My little animal was full of fire and mettle, and as it 
was the first bit of genuine sport thslt he had had for some 
time, he appeared determined to make the most of it; 
He kept the lead for full half an hour, frequently neigh* 
ing as if in triumph and derision. I thought of John 
Gilpin's celebrated ride, but that was child's play to this. 
The proverb says, " The race is not always to the swift, 
nor the battle to the strong," and so it proved in the pre- 
sent instance. My mustang was obliged to carry weighty 
while his competitors were as free as nature had made 
them. A beautiful bay, who had trod close upon my 
heels the whole way, now came side by side with my 
mustang, and we had it hip and thigh for about ten mi- 
nutes, in such style as would have delighted the heart of 
a true lover of the turf. I now felt an interest in the 
race myself, and for the credit of my bit of blood, deter- 
mined to win if it was at all in the nature of things. I 
plied the lash and spur, and the little critter took it quite 
kindly, and tossed his head, and neighed^ as much as to 


say, " Colonel, I know what you're after — Go ahead I" — 
and he cut dirt m heautiful style, I tell you. 

This could not last for ever. At length my compe- 
titor darted ahead» somewhat the same way that Adam 
Huntsman served me last election, except that there 
was no gouging; and my little fellow was compelled 
to clatter after his tail, like a needy politician after an 
office holder when he wants his infiuencey and which 
my mustang found it quite as difficult to reach. He 
hung on like grim death for some time longer, hut at 
last his ambition began to flag ; and having lost g^round^ 
others seemed to think that he was not the mighty 
critter he was cracked up to be, no how, and they tried 
to outstrip him also. A second shot ahead, and kicked 
up his heels in derision as he passed us; then a third, 
a fourth, and so on, and even the scrubbiest little rascal 
in the whole drove was disposed to have a fling at their 
broken down leader. A true picture of politicians and 
their truckling followers, thought I. We now fol- 
lowed among the last of the drove until we came to the 
banks of the Navasola river. The foremost leaped from 
the margin into the rushing stream, the others, politician 
like, followed him, though he would lead them to des- 
truction ; but my wearied animal fell on the banks, com- 
pletely exhausted with fatigue. It was a beautiful sight 
to see them stemming the torrent, ascend the opposite 
bank, and scour over the plain, having been refreshed 
by the water. I relieved my wearied animal from the. 
saddle, and employed what means were in my power to 
re9tore him. 



After toiling for more than an hour to get vty muB'* 
tang upon his feet again, I gave it up asr a bad job, as 
little Van did when he attempted to raise himself to the 
moon by the waistband of his breeches. Night was fast 
closing in, and I began to think that I had had just 
about sport enough for one day, and I might as well look 
around for a place of shelter for the night, and take a 
fresh start in the morning, bj which time I was in hope& 
my horse would be recruited. Near the margin of the 
river a large tree had been blown down, and I thought 
of making my lair in its top, and approached it for that 
purpose. While beating among the branches I heard a 
low growl, as much as to say, ** Stranger, these apart- 
ments are already taken." Looking about to see what 
sort of a bed-fellow I was likely to have, I discovered, 
not more than five or six paces from me, an enormous 
Mexican cougar eyeing me as an epicure surveys the 
table before he selects his dish, for I have no doubt the 
cougar looked upon me as the subject of a future supper. 
Rays of light darted from his large eyes, he showed his 
teeth like a negro in hysterics, and he was crouching on 
his haunches, ready for a spring ; all of which convinced 
me that unless I was pretty quick upon the trigger, 
posterity would know little of the termination of my 
eventful career, and it would be far less glorious and use- 
ful than I intended to make it. 

One glance satisfied me that there was no time to be 
lost, as Pat thought when falling from a church steeple, 
and exclaimed, *<This would be mighty pleasant, now. 


if it would only last,"— *but there was no retreat, either 
for me or the cougar, so I levelled my Betsey, and blazed 
away. The report was followed by a furious growl^ 
(which is sometimes the case in Congress,) and the next 
moment, when I expected to find the tamal critter 
struggling with death, I beheld him shaking his head as 
if nothing more than a bee had stung him. The ball had 
struck him on the forehead, and glanced off, doing no 
other injury than stunning him for an instant, and tearing 
off the skin, which tended to infuriate him the more. The 
cougar wasn't long in making up his mind what to do, 
nor was I neither ; but he would have it all his own 
way, and vetoed my motion to back out. I had not re- 
treated three steps before he sprang at me like a steam- 
boat ; I stepped aside, and as he lit upon the ground I 
struck him violently with the barrel of my rifle, but he 
didn't mind that, but wheeled round and made at me 
again. The gun was now of no use, so I threw it away, 
and drew my hunting knife, for I knew we should come 
to close quarters before the fight would be over. This 
time he succeeded in fastening on my left arm, and was 
just beginning to amuse himself by tearing the flesh off 
with his fangs, when I ripped my knife into his side, and 
he let go his hold, much to my satisfaction. 

He wheeled about and came at me with increased 
fury, occasioned by the smarting of his wounds^ I now 
tried to blind him, knowing that if I succeeded he would 
become an easy prey ; so as he approached me I watched 
my opportunity, and aimed a blow at his eyes with my 
knife, but unfortunately it struck him on the nose, and 
he paid no other attention to it than by a shake of the 
head and a low growl. He pressed me close, and as I 



was stepping backward my foot tripped in a yine* and I 
fell to the ground. He was down upon me like a night* 
hawk upon a June bug. He seiied hold of the outer 
part of my right thigh, which afforded him considerable 
amusement ; the hinder part of his body was toward my 
hce ; I grasped his tail with my left hand, and tickled 
his ribs with my hunting knife, which 1 held in my right. 
Stilly the critter wouldn't let go his hold; and as I found 
that he would lacerate my leg dreadfully unless he was 
speedily shaken off, I tried to hurl him down the bank 
into the river, for our scuffle had already brought us to 
the edge of the bank. I stuck my knife into his side, 
and summoned all my strength to throw him over. He 
resisted, was desperate heavy ; but at last I got him so 
hr down the declivity that he lost his balance, and he 
rolled over and over until he landed on the margin of 
the river ; but in his fell he dragged me along with him. 
Fortunately I fell uppermost, and his neck presented a 
hir mark for my hunting knife. Without allowing 
myself time even to draw breath, I aimed one desperate 
blow at his neck, and the knife entered his gullet up to 
the handle, and reached his heart. He struggled for a 
few moments, and died. I have had many fights with 
bears, but that was mere child's play ; this was the first 
fight ever I had with a cougar, and I hope it may be the 

I now returned to the tree top, to see if any one else 
would dispute my lodging ; but now I could take peace* 
able and quiet possession. I parted some of the branches, 
and cut away others to make a bed in the opening ; I 
then gathered a quantity of moss, which hung in fes* 
toons from the trees, which I spread on the litter, and 


over this 1 spread my horse blanket; and I had as 
comfortable a bed as a weary man need as I for. I now 
took another look at my mustang, and from all appear- 
ances he would not live until morning. I ate some of 
the cakes that little Kate of Nacogdoches had made for 
me, and then carried my saddle into my tree top, and 
threw myself down upon my bed, with no very pleasant 
reflections at the prospect before me. 

was weary and soon fell asleep, and did not awake 
until daybreak the next day. I felt somewhat stiff and 
sore from the wounds I had received in the conflict with 
the cougar ; but I considered myself as having made a 
lucky escape. I looked over the bank, and as I saw the 
carcass of the cougar lying there, I thought that it was 
an even chance that we had not exchanged conditions ; 
and 1 felt grateful that the fight had ended as it did. 1 
now went to look after my mustang, fully expecting to 
find him as dead as the cougar; but what was my 
astonishment to find that he had disappeared without 
leaving trace of hair or hide of him I I first supposed 
that some beasts of prey had consumed the poor critter ; 
but then they wouldn't have eaten his bones ; and he had 
vanished as eflectually as the deposites, without leaving 
any mark of the course they had taken. This bothered 
me amazing ; I couldn't figure it out by any rule that I 
had ever heard of, so I concluded to think no more 
about it. 

I felt a craving for something to eat, and looking 
around for some game, I saw a flock of geese on the 
shore of the river. I shot a fine fat grander^ and soon 
stripped him of his feathers ; and gathering some light 

108 COLONEL Crockett's 

wood, I kindled a fire, ran a long stick through my 
goose, for a spit, and put it down to roast, supported by 
two sticks with prongs. I had a desire for some coffee ; 
and having a tin cup with me, 1 poured the paper of 
ground coffee that I had received from the Bee hunter 
into it, and made a strong cup, which was very refreshing. 
Off of my goose and biscuit 1 made a hearty meal, and 
was preparing to depart, without clearing up the break- 
fast things or knowing which direction to pursue, when I 
was somewhat taken aback by another of the vrild scenes 
of the west. I heard a sound like the trampling of many 
horses, and I thought to be sure the mustangs or buffalo» 
were coming upon me again ; but on raising my head I 
beheld in the distance about fifty mounted Cumanches, 
with their spears glittering in the morning sun, dashing 
toward the spot where I stood at full speed. As the 
column advanced it divided, according to the usual prac- 
tice, into two semicircles, and in an instant I was- 
surrounded. Quicker than thought I sprang to my rifle, 
but as my hand grasped it, I felt that resistance against 
so many would be of as little use as pumping for thunder 
in dry weather. 

The chief was for making love to my beautiful Betsey, 
but I clung fast to her, and assuming an air of com- 
posure, I demanded whether their nation was at war 
with the Americans. " No,*' was the reply. '* Do you 
like the Americans ?" " Yes, they are your friends." 
" Where do you get your spear heads, your rifles, your 
blankets and your knives from ?*' *' Get them from our 
friends, the Americans.*' *^ Well do you think if you were 
passing through their nation, as I am passing through 


yours, they would attempt to rob you of your property ?'* 
'* No, they would feed me, and protect me ; and the Cu* 
manche will do the same by his white brother." 

I now asked him what it was had directed him to the 
spot where I was, and he told me that they had seen 
the smoke from a great distance, and had come to see 
the cause of it. He enquired what had brought me there 
alone ; and I told him that I had come to hunt, and that 
my mustang had become exhausted, and though I thought 
he was about to die, that he had escaped from me ; at 
which the chief gave a low chuckling laugh, and said it 
was all a trick of the mustang, which is the most wily 
and cunning of all animals. But he said that as 1 was a 
brave hunter he would furnish me with another ; he gave 
orders> and a fine young horse was immediately brought 

When the party approached there were three old 
squaws at their head, who made a noise with their 
mouths, and served as trumpeters. I now told the chief 
that, as I had now a horse, I would go for my saddle, 
which was in the place were I had slept. As I approached 
the spot I discovered one of the squaws devouring the 
remains of my roasted goose, but my saddle and bridle 
were nowhere to be found. Almost in despair of seeing 
them again, I observed, in a thicket at a little distance, 
one of the trumpeters kicking and belabouring her horse 
to make him move off, while the sagacious beast would 
not move a step from the troop. I followed her, and, 
thanks to her restive mustang, secured my property, 
which the chief made her restore to me. Some of the 
warriors had by this time discovered the body of the 
cougar, and had already commenced skinning it ; and 

110 COLONEL Crockett's 

seeing how many stabs were about it, I related to the 
chief the desperate struggle I had had ; he said, '* Brave 
hunter, brave man," and wished me to be adopted into 
his tribe, but I respectfully declined the honour. He 
then offered to see me on my way ; and I asked him to 
accompany me to the Colorado river, if he was going in 
that direction, which he agreed to do. I put my saddle 
on my fresh horse, mounted, and we darted off, at a rate 
not much slower than I rode the day previous with the 
wild herd, the old squaws at the head of the troop 
braying like young jackasses the whole way. 

About three hours after starting we saw a drove of 
mustangs quietly pasturing in the prairie at a distance. 
One of the Indians immediately got his lasso ready 
which was a long rope made of hide plaited like whip 
cord, with an iron ring at one end, through which the 
rope was passed so as to form a noose ; and thus pre- 
pared, he darted ahead of the troop to make a capture. 
They allowed him to approach pretty nigh, he all the 
time flourishing his lasso; but before he got within 
reaching distance, they started off at a brisk canter, made 
two or three wike circuits around him, as if they would 
spy out what he was afier, then abruptly changed their 
course, and disappeared. One mustang out of all the 
drove remained standing quietly ; the Indian made up to 
him, threw the lasso, but the mustang dodged his head 
between his fore legs, and escaped the noose, but did not 
attempt to escape. The Indian then rode up to him, and 
the horse very patiently submitted while he put a bridle 
on him, and secured him. When I approached, I im- 
mediately recognised in the captive the pestilent little 
animal that had shammed sickness and escaped from me 


the day before ; and when he caught my eye he cast 
down his head and looked rather sheepish, as if he were 
sensible and ashamed of the dirty trick he had played 
me. I expressed my astonishment to the Indian chief at 
the mustang's allowing himself to be captured without an 
effort to escape ; and he told me, that they are generally 
hurled to the ground with such violence when first taken 
with the lasso, that they remember it ever after, and that 
the sight of it will subdue them to submission, though 
they may have run wild for years. Just so with an 
office holder, who, being kicked out, turns patriot— shake 
a commission at him, and the fire of his patriotism usually 
escapes in smoke. 

We travelled all day, and toward evening we came 
across a small drove of buffalos ; and it was a beautiful 
sight to behold with what skill the Indians hunted down 
this noble game. There are no horsemen who ride more 
gracefully than the Cumanches ; and they sit so closely 
and hold such absolute control over the horse, that he 
seems to be part of their own person. I had the good 
fortune to bring down a young heifer, and as it was the 
only beef that we killed, the chief again complimented 
me as being a brave hunter ; and while they were pre- 
paring the heifer for our supper 1 related to him many 
of my hunting exploits, at which he manifested pleasure 
and much astonishment for an Indian. He again urged 
upon me to become one of the tribe. 

We made a hearty supper, hobbled our mustangs, 
which we turned into the prairie to graze, and then 
encamped for the night. I awoke about two hours be- 
fore daybreak, and looking over the tract of country 
through which we had travelled, the sky was as bright 


and clear as if the sun had already risen. I watched it 
for some time without being able to account for it, and 
asked my friend, the chief, to explain, who told me that 
the prairie was on fire, and that it must have caught 
when we cooked our dinner. I have seen hundreds of 
acres of mountain timber on fire in my time, but this is 
the first time that I ever saw a prairie burning. 

Nothing of interest occurred until we reached the 
Colorado, and were following the river to the place where 
it crosses the road to Bexar, which place the Indians 
promised to conduct me to. We saw a light column of 
smoke ascending in the clear sky, and hastened toward 
it. It proceeded from a small cluster of trees near the 
river. When we came within five hundred yards of it, 
the warriors extended their line around the object, and 
the chief and myself cautiously approached it. When 
we came within eyeshot, what was my astonishment to 
discover a solitary man seated on the ground near the 
fire, so intent upon some pursuit that he did not perceive 
our approach I We drew nigh to him, and still he was 
unconscious of our approach. It was poor Thimblerig, 
practising his game of thimbles upon the crown of his 
white Vicksburger. This is what I call the ruling pas- 
sion most amazing strong. The chief shouted the war 
whoop, and suddenly the warriors came rushing in from 
all quarters, preceded by the old squaw trumpeters squal- 
ling like mad. The conjurer sprang to his feet, and 
was ready to sink into the earth when he beheld the 
ferocious looking fellows that surrounded him. I stepped 
up, took him by the hand, and quieted his fears. I told 
the chief that he was a friend of mine, and I was very 
glad to have found him, for I was afraid that he had 


perished. 1 now thanked him for his kindness in guiding 
me over the prairies, and gave him a large Bowie knife, 
which he said he would keep for the sake of the hrave 
hunter. The whole squadron then wheeled off, and I 
saw them no more. 1 have met with many polite men 
in my timd, hut no one who possessed in a greater degree 
what may he called true spontaneous politeness than this 
Cumanche chief, always excepting Philip Hone, Esq., of 
New York, whom I look upon as the politest man I ever 
did see ; for when he asked me to take a drink at his 
own side-hoard he turned his hack upon me, that I 
mightn't he ashamed to fill as much as 1 wanted. That 
was what 1 call doing the fair thing. 

Thimhlerig was delighted at meeting me again, but it 
was some time hefore he recovered sufficiently from the 
cold sweat into which the sudden appearance of the 
Indians had thrown him to recount his adventures to 
me. He said that he felt rather down-hearted when he 
found himself ahandoned hoth by the Bee hunter and 
myself, and he knew not which course to pursue ; but 
after thinking about the matter for two hours, he had 
made up his mind to retrace the road we had travelled over 
and had mounted his mustang for that purpose, when he 
spied the Bee hunter laden with honey. The mystery 
of his abrupt departure was now fully accounted for ; he 
had spied a solitary bee shaping its course to its hive, 
and at the moment he couldn't control the ruling pas- 
sion, but followed the bee, without reflecting for a 
moment upon the difficulties and dangers that his thought- 
lessness might occasion his friends. 

I now asked him what had become of the Bee hunter, 
and he said that he had gone out in pursuit of game for 

114 COLONEL Crockett's 

their supper, and be expected that he would return 
shortly, as he had been absent at least an hour. While 
we were still speaking our friend appeared, bending 
under the weight of a wild turkey. He manifested 
great joy at meeting with me so unexpectedly ; and 
desiring the conjurer to pluck the feathers off the bird, 
which he cheerfully undertook, for he said he had been 
accustomed to plucking pigeons, we set about preparing 
our supper. 

The position we occupied was directly on the route 
leading to Bexar, and at the crossings of the Colorado^ 
We were about to commence our supper, for the turkey 
was done in beautiful style, when the sound of a horse 
neighing startled us. We looked over the prairie, and 
beheld two men approaching on horseback, and both 
armed with rifles and knives. The Bee hunter said that 
it was time for us to be on our guard, for we should 
meet, perhaps, more enemies than friends as soon as we 
crossed the river, and the new-comers were making 
directly for the spot we occupied; but, as they were 
only two, it occasioned no uneasiness. 

As they drew nigh we recognised the strangers ; they 
turned out to be the old pirate and the Indian hunter 
who had lodged with us a few nights before. We hailed 
them, and on seeing us they alighted and asked permis- 
sion to join our party, which we gladly agreed to, as our 
journey was becoming rather more perilous every mile 
we advanced. They partook of our turkey, and as they 
had some small cakes of bread, which they threw into 
the general stock, we made a hearty supper ; and, after 
a battle song from the Bee hunter, we prepared to rest 
for the night. 


Early next morning we crossed the river, and pushed 
forward for the fortress of Alamo. The old pirate was 
still as taciturn as ever, but his companion was talkative 
and in good spirits. I asked him where he had procured 
their mustangs, and he said that he had found them 
hobbled in Burnet's Grant just at a time that he felt 
very tired; and as he believed that no one would lay 
claim to them at Bexar, he couldn't resist mounting one, 
and persuading his friend to mount the other. 

Nothing of interest occurred until we came within about 
twenty miles of San Antonio. We were in the open 
prairie, and beheld a band of about fifteen or twenty armed 
men approaching us at full speed. " Look out for squalls," 
said the old pirate, who had not spoken for an hour ; 
** they are a scouting party of Mexicans.*' *< And are 
three or four times our number,'* said Thimblerig« " No 
matter," replied the old man ; << they are convicts, jail 
birds, and cowardly ruffians, no doubt, who would tremble 
at a loud word as much as a mustang at the sight of the 
lasso. — Let us spread ourselves, dismount, and trust to 

our arms." 

We followed his orders, and stood beside our horses, 
which served to protect our persons, and we awaited the 
approach of the enemy. When they perceived this move- 
ment of ours, they checked their speed, appeared to con- 
sult together for a few minutes, then spread their line, and 
came within rifle shot of us. The leader called out to us 
in Spanish, but as 1 did not understand him, I asked the 
old man what it was, who said he called upon us to sur- 

'< lliere will be a brush with those blackguards,' con- 
tinued the pirate. •' Now each of you single out your 

116 COLONEL Crockett's 

man for the first fire, and they are greater fools thftn I 
take them for if they give us a chance at a second.-^ 
Colonel, as you are a good shot, just settle the business 
of that talking fellow with the red feather ; he*s worth 
any three of the party/* 

" Surrender, or we fire," shouted the fellow with the 
red feather, in Spanish. 

" Fire, and be d dP* returned the pirate, at the 

top of his voice, in plain English. 

Abd sure enough they took his advice, for the next 
minute we were saluted with a discharge of musketry, 
the report of which was so loud that we were convinced 
they all had fired. Before the smoke had cleared away 
we had each selected our man, fired, and I never did see 
such a scattering among their ranks as followed. We 
beheld several mustangs running wild without their riders 
over the prairie, and the balance of the company were al- 
ready retreating at a more rapid gait than they approached. 
We hastily mounted, and commenced pursuit, which we 
kept up until we beheld the independent flag flying from 
the battlements of the fortress of Alamo, our place of 
destination. The fugitives succeeded in evading our pur- 
suit, and we rode up to the gates of the fortress, announced 
to the sentinel who we were, and the gates were thrown 
open ; and we entered amid shouts of welcome bestowed 
upon us by the patriots. 



The fortress of Alamo is at the town of Bexar, on the 
San Antonio river, which flows through the town. Bexar 
is about one hundred and forty miles from the coast, and 
contains upwards of twelve hundred citizens, all native 
Mexicans, with the exception of a few American families 
who have settled there. Besides these there is a garrison 
of soldiers, and trading pedlars of every description, who 
resort to it from the borders of the Rio Grande, as their 
nearest d^pot of American goods. A military outpost 
was established at this spot by the Spanish government in 
1718. In 1731 the town was settled by emigrants sent 
out from the Canary Islands by the King of Spain. It 
became a flourishing settlement, and so continued until 
the revolution in 1812, since which period the Cumanche 
and other Indians have greatly harassed the inhabitants, 
producing much individual suffering, and totally destroy- 
ing, for a season at least, the prospects of the town. Its 
site is one of the most beautiful in the western world. The 
air is salubrious, the water delightful, especially when 
mixed with a little of the ardent, and the health of the 
citizens is proverbial. The soil around it is highly fertile, 
and well calculated for cotton and grain. 

The gallant young Colonel Travis, who commands the 
Texian forces in the fortress of Alamo, received me like 
a man ; and though he can barely muster one hundred 
and fifty efficient men, should Santa Anna make an at-' 
tack upon us, with the whole host of ruffians that the 
Mexican prisons can disgorge, he will have snakes to eat 


before be gets over tbe wall, I tell you. But one spirit 
appears to animate tbe little band of patriots — and tbat is 
liberty, or deatb. To worsbip God according to tbe dic- 
tates of tbeir own conscience, and govern tbemselves as 
freemen sbould be governed. 

All tbe world knows, by tbis time, tbat tbe town of 
Bexar, or, as some call it, San Antonio, was captured from 
tbe Mexicans by General Burlison, on tbe lOtb day of 
December, 1835, after a severe struggle of five days and 
five nigbts, during wbicb be sustained a loss of four men 
only, but tbe brave old Colonel Milam was among them. 
Tbere were seventeen hundred men in tbe town, and tbe 
Texian force consisted of but two hundred and sixteen. 
Tbe Mexicans bad walled up the streets leading from the 
public square, intending to make a desperate resistance : 
tbe Texians, however, made an entrance, and valiantly 
drove them from bouse to house, until General Cos re- 
treated to the castle of Alamo, without the city, and tbere 
hoisted the white flag, and sent out terms of capitulation, 
which were as follows : 

General Cos is to retire within six days, with his offi- 
cers, arms, and private property, on parole of honour. 
He is not to oppose tbe re-establishment of the consti- 
tution of 1824. 

The infantry, and tbe cavalry, the remnant of Mo- 
rale's battalion, and the convicts, to return, taking with 
them ten rounds of cartridge for safety against the In- 

All public property, money, arms, and ammunition, to 
be delivered to General Burlison, of the Texian army,— 
with some other stipulations in relation to the sick and 
wounded, private property, and prisoners of war. The 


Texians would not have acceded to them, preferring to 
storm him in his stronghold, hut at this critical juncture 
they hadn't a single round of ammunition left, having 
fought from the 5th to the 9th of the month. General 
Ugartechea had arrived hut the day hefore with three 
hundred troops, and the four hundred convicts mentioned 
ahove, making a reinforcement of seven hundred men ; 
but such rubbish was no great obstacle to the march of 
freedom. The Mexicans lost about three hundred men 
during the siege, and the Texians had only four killed, 
and twenty wounded. The articles of capitulation being 
signed, we marched into the town, took possession of the 
fortress, hoisted the independent flag, and told the late 
proprietors to pack up their moveables and clear out in 
the snapping of a trigger, as we did not think our pockets 
quite safe with so many jail birds around us. And this 
is the way the Alamo came into our possession ; but the 
way we shall maintain our possession of it will be a sub- 
ject for the future historian to record, or my name's not 
Crockett. — I wish I may be shot if I don't go ahead to 
the last. 

I found Colonel Bowie, of Louisiana, in the fortress, a 
man celebrated for having been in more desperate per- 
sonal conflicts than any other in the country, and whose 
name has been given to a knife of a peculiar construction, 
which is now in general use in the south-west. I was 
introduced to him by Colonel Travis, and he gave me a 
friendly welcome, and appeared to be mightily pleased 
that I had arrived safe. While we were conversing he 
had occasion to draw his famous knife to cut a strap, and 
I wish I may be shot if the bare sight of it wasn't enough 
to give a man of a squeamish stomach the cholic, spe- 


cially before breakfast. He saw I was admiring it, and 
said he, ^' ColoneU you might tickle a fellow's ribs a long 
time with this little instrument before you'd make him 
laugh ; and many a time have I seen a man puke at the 
idea of the point touching the pit of his stomach.** 

My companions, the Bee hunter and the conjurer, 
joined us, and the colonel appeared to know them both 
very well. He had a high opinion of the Bee hunter, for 
turning to me, he said, '' Colonel, you could not have had 
a braver, better, or more pleasant fellow for a companion 
than honest Ned here. With fifteen hundred such men 
I would undertake to march to the city of Mexico, and 
occupy the seat of Santa Anna myself, before three 
months should elapse/' 

The coloners life has been marked by constant peril 
and deeds of daring. A few years ago he went on a 
hunting excursion into the prairies of Texas, with nine 
companions. They were attacked by a roving party of 
Cumanches, about two hundred strong, and such the 
science of the colonel in this sort of wild warfare, that 
after killing a considerable number of the enemy, he 
fairly frightened the remainder from the field of action, 
and they fled in utter dismay. The fight took place among 
the high grass in the open prairie. He ordered his men 
to dismount from their horses and- scatter ; to take de- 
liberate aim before they fired, but as soon as they had 
discharged their rifles, to fall flat on the ground and crawl 
away from the spot, and reload their pieces. By this 
scheme they not only escaped the fire of the Indians, but 
by suddenly discharging their guns from another quarter, 
they created the impression that their party was a numer- 
ous one ; and the Indians, finding that they were fighting 


against an invisible enemy, after losing about thirty of 
their men, took to flight, believing themselves lucky in 
having escaped with no greater loss. But one of the 
colonel's party was slightly wounded, and that was owing 
to his remaining to unload his rifle without having first 
shifted his position. 

Santa Anna, it is said, roars like an angry lion at the 
disgraceful defeat that his brother-in-law, General Cos, 
lately met with at this place. It is rumoured that he has 
recruited a large force, and commenced his march to San 
Louis de Potosi, and he is determined to carry on a war 
of extermination. He is liberal in applying his epithets 
to our countrymen in Texas, and denounces them as a set 
of perfidious wretches, whom the compassion of the gene- 
rous Mexicans has permitted to take refuge in their coun- 
try ; and who, like the serpent in the fable, no sooner 
warmed themselves than they stung their benefactors. 
This is a good joke. — By what title does Mexico lay 
claim to all the territory which belonged to Spain in 
North America? Each province or state of New Spain 
contended separately or jointly^ just as it happened, for 
their independence, as we did, and were not united under 
a general government representing the whole of the 
Spanish possessions, which was only done afterward by 
mutual agreement or federation. Let it be remembered 
that the Spanish authorities were first expelled from 
Texas by the American settlers, who, from the treachery 
of their Mexican associates, were unable to retain it; 
but the second time they were more successful. They 
certainly had as good a right to the soil thus conquered 
by them as the inhabitants of other provinces who sue- 


122 COLONS!, cbockett's 

ceeded against Spaia. The Mexicans talk of the ingra- 
titude of the Americans ; the truth is, that the ingrati- 
tude has heen on the other side. What was the war of 
Texas, in 18 Id, when the revolutionary spark was almost 
extinguished in Mexico ? What was the expedition of 
Mina, and his three hundred American Spartans, who 
perished heroically in the very heart of Mexico, in the vain 
attempt to resuscitate and keep alive the spark of independ- 
ence which at this time has kindled such an ungrateful 
hlaze ? If a just estimate could be made of the lives and the 
t reasures contributed by American enterprise in that cause, 
it would appear incredible. How did the Mexicans obtain 
their independence at last ? Was it by their own virtue 
and courage? No, it was by the treachery of one of 
the king's generals, who established himself by successful 
treason, and they have been in constant commotion ever 
since, which proves they are unfit to govern themsdves, 
much less a free and enlightened people at a distance of 
twelve hundred miles from them. 

The Mexican government, by its colonisation laws, 
invited and induced the Anglo-American population of 
Texas to colonise its wilderness, under the pledged faith 
of a written constitution, that thev should continue to 
enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican govern- 
ment to which they had been habituated in the land of 
their birth, the United States of America. In this ex- 
pectation they have been cruelly disappointed* as the 
Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made 
in the government by Santa Anna ; who, having over- 
turned the constitution of this country, now offers the 
settlers the cruel alternative, either to abandon their 


homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the 
most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism 
of the sword and the priesthood. 

But Santa Anna charges the Americans with ingrati- 
tude I This is something like Satan reviling sin. I have 
gathered some particulars of the life of this moral per- 
sonage from a gentleman at present in the Alamo, and 
who is intimately acquainted with him> which I will copy 
into my book exactly as he wrote it. 

Santa Anna is about forty-two years of age, and was 
bom in the city of Vera Cruz. His father was a Spa- 
niard, of Old Spain, of respectable standing, though poor ; 
his mother was a Mexican. He received a common 
education, and at the age of thirteen or fourteen was 
taken into the military family of the then intendant 
of Vera Cruz, General Davila, who took a great fancy to 
him, and brought him up. He remained with General 
Davila until about the year 1820. While with Davila 
he was made a major, and when installed he took the 
honours very coolly, and on some of his friends congra- 
tulating him, he said, " If you were to make me a god, 
I should desire to be something greater." This trait, 
developed at so early a period of his life, indicated the 
existence of that vaulting ambition which has ever since 
characterised his life. 

After serving the Spanish royal cause until 1821, he 
left Vera Cruz, turned against his old master and bene- 
factor, and placed himself at the head of some irregular 
troops which he raised on the searcoast near Vera Cruz, 
and which are called Jarochos in their language, and which 
were denominated by him his Cossacks, as they are all 
mounted and armed with spears. With this rude cavalry 


124 COLONEL Crockett's 

he besieged Vera Cruz, drove Davila into the castle of 
San Juan d'Ulloa, and after having been repulsed, again 
entered at a subsequent period, and got entire possession 
of the city, expelling therefrom the old Spanish troops, 
and reducing the power of the mother country in Mexico 
to the walls of the castle. 

Subsequent to this, Davila is said to have obtained an 
interview with Santa' Anna, and told him he was destined 
to act a prominent part in the history of his country. 
** And now," says he, " I will give you some advice : 
always go with the strongest party.*' He always acted 
up to this motto until he raised the grito (or cry), in 
other words, took up the cudgels for the friars and church. 
He then overturned the federal government, and esta- 
blished a central despotism, of which the priests and the 
military were the two privileged orders. His life has 
been, from the first, of the most romantic kind ; con- 
stantly in revolutions, constantly victorious. 

His manners are extremely affiible ; he is fiill of anec- 
dote and humour, and makes himself exceedingly fasci- 
nating and agreeable to all who come into his company ; 
he is about five feet ten, rather spare, has a moderately 
high forehead, with black hair, short black whiskers, 
without mustachios, and an eye large, black, and ex- 
pressive of a lurking devil in his look ; he is a man of 
genteel and dignified deportment, but of a disposition 
perfectly heartless. He married a Spanish lady of pro- 
perty, a native of Alvarado, and through that marriage 
obtained the first part of his estate, called Magna de 
Clavo, six leagues from Vera Cruz. He has three fine 
children, yet quite young. 

The following striking anecdote of Santa Anna illns- 


trates his peculiar quickness and management : — During 
the revolution of 1829, while he was shut up in Oxaca^ 
and surrounded by the government troops, and reduced 
to the utmost straits for the want of money and provi- 
sions, having a very small force, there had been, in con- 
sequence of the siege and firing every day through the 
streets, no mass for several weeks. He had no money, 
and hit upon the following expedient to get it : he took 
possession of one of the convents, got hold of the ward- 
robe of the friars, dressed his officers and some of his 
soldiers in it, and early in the morning had the bells 
rung for the mass. The people, delighted at having 
again an opportunity of adoring the Supreme Being, 
flocked to the church where he was; and, after the 
house was pretty well filled, his friars showed their side- 
arms and bayonets from beneath their cowls, and closed 
the doors upon the assembled multitude. At this unex- 
pected denouement there was a tremendous shrieking, 
when one of his officers ascended the pulpit, and told the 
people that he wanted ten thousand dollars, and must 
have it. He finally succeeded in getting about thirty-six 
hundred dollars, when he dismissed the congregation. 

As a sample of Santa Anna's pious whims, we relate 
the following : — 

In the same campaign of Oxaca, Santa Anna and his 
officers were there besieged by Rincon, who commanded 
the government troops. Santa Anna was in a convent 
surrounded by a small breastwork. Some of the officers 
one night, to amuse themselves, took the wooden saints 
out of the church, and placed them as sentries, dressed 
in uniforms, on the breastwork. Rincon, alarmed on the 
morning at this apparent boldness, began to fire away at 

126 COLONEL Crockett's 

the wooden images, supposing them to he flesh and 
hlood ; and it was not until some of the officers who were 
not in the secret had implored Santa Anna to prevent 
this desecration that the firing ceased. 

Many similar facts are related of him. He is, in (act, 
all things to all men ; and yet, after his treachery to 
Davila, he has the impudence to talk ahout ingratitude. 
He never was out of Mexico. If I only live to tree him, 
and take hbn prisoner, I shall ask for no more glory in 
this life. 


I WRITE this on the nineteenth of February, 1836, at 
San Antonio. We are all in high spirits, though we are 
rather short of provisions, for men who have appetites 
that could digest any thing but oppression ; but no mat- 
ter, we have a prospect of soon getting our bellies full of 
fighting, and that is victuals and drink to a true patriot 
any day. We had a little sort of convivial party last 
evening: just about a dozen of us set to work, most 
patriotically, to see whether we could not get rid of that 
curse of the land, whiskey, and we made considerable 
progress ; but my poor friend, Thimblerig, got sewed up 
just about as tight as the eyelet-hole in a lady's corset, 
and a little tighter too, I reckon ; for when we went to 
bed he called for a boot-jack, which was brought to him, 
and he bent down on his hands and knees, and very 
gravely pulled off his hat with it, for the darned critter 
was so thoroughly swiped that he didn't know his head 


from his heels. But this wasn*t all the folly he com- 
mitted : he pulled off his coat and laid it on the bed, and 
then hung himself over the back of a chair ; and I wish 
I may be shot if he didn't go to sleep in that position, 
thinking* ^very thing had been done according to Gun- 
ter's late scale. Seeing the poor fellow completely iised 
up, I carried him to bed, though he did belong to the 
Temperance Society ; and he knew nothing about what 
had occurred until I told him next morning. The Bee 
hunter didn't join us in this blow-out. Indeed, he will 
seldom drink more than just enough to prevent his being 
called a total abstinence man. But then he is the most 
jovial fellow for a water drinker I ever did see. 

This morning I saw a caravan of about fifty mules 
passing by Bexar, and bound for Santa Fd. They were 
loaded with different articles to such a degree that it was 
astonishing how they could travel at all, and they were 
nearly worn out by their labours. They were without 
bridle or halter^ and yet proceeded with perfect regularity 
in a single line ; and the owners of the caravan rode their 
mustangs with their enormous spurs, weighing at least a 
pound a piece, with rowels an inch and a half in length, 
and lever bits of the harshest description, able to break 
the jaws of their animals under a very gentle pressure. 
The men were dressed in the costume of Mexicans. 
Colonel Travis sent out a guard to see that they were 
not laden with munitions of war for the enemy. I went 
out with the party. The poor mules were bending under 
a burden of more than three hundred pounds, without 
including the panniers, which were bound so tight as 
almost to stop the breath of the poor animals. Each of 

128 COLONEL Crockett's 

the sorrowful line came up, spontaneously, in turn to 
have his girth unbound and his load removed. They 
seemed scarcely able to keep upon their feet, and as they 
successively obtained relief, one after another heaved a 
long and deep sigh, which it was painful to hear, because 
it proved that the poor brutes had been worked beyond 
their strength. What a world of misery man inflicts 
upon the rest of creation in his brief passage through 

Finding that the caravan contained nothing intended 
for the enemy, we assisted the owners to replace the 
heavy burdens on the backs of the patient but dejected 
mules, and allowed them to pursue their weary and lonely 
way. For full two hours we could see them slowly wind- 
ing along the narrow path, a fiiint line that ran like a 
thread through the extended prairie; and finally they 
were whistled down to the little end of nothing in the 
distance^ and were blotted out from the horizon. 

The caravan had no sooner disappeared than one of 
the hunters, who had been absent several days, came in. 
He was one of those gentlemen who don*t pride them- 
selves much upon their costume, and reminded me of a 
covy who came into a tavern in New York when I was 
last in that city. He was dressed in five jackets, all of 
which fiiiled to conceal his raggedness, and as he bolted 
in, he exclaimed, 

<« Worse than I look, by . But no matter, I've 

let myself out for fourteen dollars a month, and find my 
own prog and lodging." 

*< To do what ?" demanded the bar-keeper. 

" To stand at the comer for a paper-mill sign — ' Cash 


for Rags* — that's all. I'm about to enter upon the sta- 
tionery business, you see." He tossed off his grog, and 
bustled out to begin his day's work. 

But to return to the hunter. He stated that he had 
met some Indians on the banks of the Rio Frio^ who in- 
formed him that Santa Anna, with a large force^ had 
already crossed the Neuces^ and might be expected to 
arrive before San Antonio in a few days. We imme- 
diately set about preparing to give him a warm reception, 
for we are all well aware, if our little band is over- 
whelmed by numbers, there is little mercy to be expected 
from the cowardly Mexicans — ^it is war to the knife. 

I jocosely asked the ragged hunter, who was a smart, 
active young fellow, of the steam-boat and alligator 
breed, whether he was a rhinoceros or a hyena, as he 
was so eager for a fight with the invaders. " Neither 
the one, nor t'other. Colonel," says he, " but a whole 
menagerie in myself. I'm shaggy as a bear, wolfish 
about the head, active as a cougar, and can grin like a 
hyena, until the bark will curl off a gum log. There's a 
sprinkling of all sorts in me, from the lion down to the 
skunk ; and before the war is over you'll pronounce me 
an entire zoological institute, or I miss a figure io my 
calculation. I promise to swallow Santa Anna without 
gagging, if you will only skewer back his ears, and 
grease his head a little." 

He told me that he was one in the fatal expedition fitted 
out from New Orleans, in November last, to join the 
contemplated attack upon Tampico by Mehia and Pe- 
raza. They were, in all, about one hundred and thirty 
men, who embarked as emigrants to Texas; and the 
terms agreed upon were, that it was optional whether the 



party took up arms in defence of Texas, or not, on land- 
ing. They were at full liberty to act as they pleasod. 
But the truth was, Tampico was their destination, and 
an attack on that city the covert design, which was not 
made known before land was in sight. The emigrants 
were landed, some fifty, who doubtless had a previous 
understanding, joined the standard of General Mehia, 
and the following day a formidable fort surrendered with- 
out an attack. 

The whole party were now tendered arms and ammu- 
nition, which even those who had been decoyed accepted ; 
and, the line being formed^ they commenced the attack 
upon the city. The hunter continued : '< On the 15th 
of November our little army, consisting of one hundred 
and fifty men, marched into Tampico, garrisoned by two 
thousand Mexicans, who were drawn up in battle array 
in the public square of the city. We charged them at 
the point of the bayonet, and although they so greatly 
outnumbered us, in two minutes we completely routed 
them; and they fled, taking refuge on the house* tope, 
from which they poured a destructive fire upon our gal- 
lant little band. We fought them until daylight, when 
we found our number decreased to fifty or sixty broken 
down and disheartened men« Without ammunition, and 
deserted by the oflSicers, twenty-eight immediately sur- 
rendered. But a few of us cut our way through, and 
fortunately escaped to the mouth of the river, where we 
got on board a vessel and sailed for Texas. 

** The twenty-eight prisoners wished to be considered 
as prisoners of war ; they made known the manner in 
which they had been deceived, but they were tried by a 
court-martial of Mexican soldiers, and condemned to be 


shotoD the 14th day of December, 1835, which sentence 
was carried into execution." 

After receiving this account from my new friend, the 
old pirate and the Indian hunter came up, and they 
went off to liquor together, and I went to see a wild 
Mexican hog, which one of the hunters had brought in. 
These animals have become scarce, which circumstance 
is not to be deplored, for their flesh is of little valne ; 
and there will still be hogs enough left in Mexico, 
from all I can learn, even though these should be ex- 

February 22.— The Mexicans, about sixteen hundred 
strong, with their President Santa Anna at their head, 
aided by Generals Almonte, Cos, Sesma and Castrillon, 
are within two leagues of Bexar. General Cos, it seems, 
has already forgot his parole of honour, and has come 
back to retrieve the credit he lost in this place in De- 
cember last. If he is captured a second time, I don't 
think he can have the impudence to ask to go at large 
again without giving better bail than on the former occa- 
sion. Some of the scouts came in, and bring reports that 
Santa Anna has been endeavouring to excite the Indians 
to hostilities against the Texians, but so far without 
effect. The Cumanches, in particular, entertain such 
hatred for the Mexicans, and at the same time hold them 
in such contempt, that they would rather turn their toma- 
hawks against them, and drive them from the land, than 
lend a helping hand. We are up and doing, and as lively 
as Dutch cheese in the dog-days. The two hunters that 
I have already introduced to the reader left the town, 
this afternoon, for the purpose of reconnoitring. 

February 23.— Early this morning the enemy came 

132 COLONEL Crockett's 

in sight, inarching in regular order, and displaying their 
strength to the greatest advantage, in order to strike us 
with terror. But that was no go; they'll find that they 
have to do with men who will never lay down their arms 
as long as they can stand on their l^s. We held a 
short council of war, and, finding that we should be 
completely surrounded, and overwhelmed by numbers, 
if we remained in the town, we concluded to withdraw 
to the fortress of Alamo, and defend it to the last ex- 
tremity. We accordingly filed o£f, in good order, having 
some days before placed all the surplus provisions, arms, 
and ammunition in the fortress. We have had a large 
national flag made ; it is composed of thirteen stripes, 
red and white, alternately, on a blue ground with a large 
white star^ of five points, in the centre, and between the 
points the letters Texas. As soon as our little band, 
about one hundred and fifty in number, had entered and 
secured the fortress in the best possible manner, we set 
about raising our flag to the battlements; on which 
occasion there was no one more active than my young 
friend, the Bee hunter. He had been all along sprightly, 
cheerful, and spirited, but now, notwithstanding the con- 
trol that he usually maintained over himself, it was with 
difficulty that he kept his enthusiasm within bounds. As 
soon as we commenced raising the flag he burst forth in 
a clear full tone of voice, that made the blood tingle in 
the veins of all who heard him :— 

" Up with your banner, Freedom, 
Thy champions cling to thee ; 
They'll follow where'er you lead 'em, 

To death, or victory ; — 
Up with your banner, Freedom. 


Tyrants and Blades are rushing 

To tread thee in the dust ; 
Their blood will soon be (pishing. 

And stain our knives with rust ; — 
But not thy banner^ Freedom. 

While stars and stripes are flying, 

Our bleed we*ll freely shed : 
No groan will 'scape the dying, 

Seeing thee o*er his head ; 
Up with your banner, Freedom.** 

This song was followed by three cheers from all with- 
in the fortress, and the drums and trumpets commenced 
playing. The enemy marched into Bexar, and took pos- 
session of the town, a hlood red flag flying at their head, 
to indicate that we need not expect quarters if we should 
fall into their clutches. In the afternoon a messenger 
was sent from the enemy to Colonel Travis, demanding 
an unconditional and absolute surrender of the garrison, 
threatening to put every man to the sword in case of 
refusal. The only answer he received was a cannon 
shot, so the messenger left us with a flea in his ear, and 
the Mexicans commenced firing grenades at us, but 
without doing any mischief. At night Colonel Travis 
sent an express to Colonel Fanning, at Goliad, ahout 
three or four days* march from this place, to let him 
know that we are besieged. The old pirate volunteered 
to go on this expedition, and accordingly left the fort 
after night-fall. 

February 24. — Very early this morning the enemy 
commenced a new battery on the banks of the river, 
about three hundred and fifty yards from the fort, and 
by afternoon they amused themselves by firing at us from 


that quarter. Our Indian scout came in this evening, 
and with him a reinforcement of thirty men from 
Gonzales, who are just in the nick of time to reap a 
harvest of glory ; hut there is some prospect of sweat- 
ing blood before we gather it in. An accident happened 
to my friend Thimblerig this afternoon. He was in- 
tent on his eternal game of thimbles, in a somewhat ex- 
posed position, whilst the enemy were bombarding us 
from the new redoubt. A three ounce ball glanced 
from the parapet and struck him on the breast, inflicting 
a painful but not dangerous wound. I extracted the 
ball, which was of lead, and recommended to him to 
drill a hole through it, and carry it for a watch seal. 
'• No," he replied, with energy, *' may I be shot six times 
if I do ; that would be making a bauble for an idle boast ; 
No, Colonel, lead is getting scarce, and I'll lend it out at 
compound interest. — Curse the thimbles I" he muttered, 
and went his way, and I saw no more of him that 

February 25. — The firing commenced early this 
morning, but the Mexicans are poor engineers, for we 
haven't lost a single man, and our out-works have sus- 
tained no injury. Our sharp shooters have brought 
down a considerable number of stragglers at a long shot. 
I got up before the peep of day, hearing an occasional 
discharge of a rifle just over the place where I was 
sleeping, and I was somewhat amazed to see Thimblerig 
mounted alone on the battlement, no one being on duty 
at the time but the sentries. '* What are you doing 
there ?" says I. ** Paying my debts," says he, '* interest 
and all." *' And how do you make out ?" says I. ** I've 
nearly got through," says he*; ''stop a moment, Colonel, 


and rU close the account." He clapped his rifle to his 
shoulder, and blazed away, then jumped down from his 
perch, and said, *' That account's settled ; them chaps 
will let me play out my g^me in quiet next time." I 
looked over the wall, and saw four Mexicans lying dead 
on the plain. I asked him to explain what he meant 
by paying his debts, and he told roe that he had run the 
grape shot into four rifle balls, and that he had taken an 
early stand to have a chance of picking off stragglers. 
^ Now, Colonel, let's go take our bitters," said be : and so 
we did. The enemy have been busy during the night, 
and have thrown up two batteries on the opposite side of 
the river. The battalion of Matamoros is posted there, 
and cavalry occupy the hills to the east and on the road 
to Gonzales. They are determined to surround us, and 
cut us off from reinforcement, or the possibility of es^ 
cape by a sortie. — Well, there's one thing they cannot 
prevent : we'll still go ahead, and sell our lives at a high 

February 26.^ — Colonel Bowie has been taken sick 
from over-exertion and exposure. He did not leave his 
bed to-day until twelve o'clock. He is worth a dozen 
common men in a situation like ours. The Bee hunter 
keeps the whole garrison in good heart with bis songs 
and his jests, and his daring and determined spirit. He 
is about the quickest on the trigger, and the best rifle 
shot we have in the fort. I have already seen him bring 
down eleven of the enemy, and at such a distance that 
we all thought it would be waste of ammunition to at- 
tempt it. His gun is first-rate, quite equal to my Betsey, 
though she has not quite as many trinkets about ber. 
This day a small party sallied out of the fort for wood 

136 COLONEL Crockett's 

and water, and had a sligpht skirmish with three times 
their number from the division under General Sesma* 
The Bee hunter headed them, and beat the enemy off, 
after killing three. On opening his Bible at night, of 
which he always reads a portion before going to rest, he 
found a musket ball in the middle of it. *' See here. 
Colonel," said he, ^' how they have treated the valued 
present of my dear little Kate of Nacogdoches." ** It 
has saved your life," said I. '< True," replied he, more 
seriously than usual, <*and I am not the first sinner 
whose life has been saved by this book." He prepared 
for bed, and before retiring he prayed, and returned 
thanks for his providential escape; and I heard the 
name of Catherine mingled in his prayer. 

February 27^ — The cannonading began early this 
morning, and ten bombs were thrown into the fort, but 
fortunately exploded without doing any mischief. So far 
it has been a sort of tempest in a teapot ; not unlike a 
pitched battle in the Hall of Congress, where the parties 
array their forces, make fearful demonstrations on both 
sides, then fire away with loud sounding speeches, which 
contain about as much meaning as the report of a 
howitzer charged with a blank cartridge. Provisions are 
becoming scarce, and the enemy are endeavouring to 
cut off our water. If they attempt to stop our grog in 
that manner, let them look out, for we shall become too 
wrathy for our shirts to hold us. We are not prepared 
to submit to an excise of that nature, and they'll find it 
out. This discovery has created considerable excite- 
ment in the fort. 

February 28. — Last night our hunters brought in 
some com and hogs, and had a brush with a scout from 


the enemy beyond gun-shot of the fort. They put the 
scout to flight, and got in without injury. They bring 
accounts that the settlers are flying in all quarters, in 
dismay^ leaving their possessions to the mercy of the 
ruthless invader, who is literally engaged in a war of ex- 
termination, more brutal than the untutored savage of 
the desert could be guilty of. Slaughter is indiscriminate, 
sparing neither sex, age, nor condition. Buildings have 
been burnt down, farms laid waste, and Santa Anna ap- 
pears determined to verify his threat, and convert the 
blooming paradise into a howling wilderness. For just 
one fair crack at that rascal, even at a hundred yards* 
distance, I would bargain to break my Betsey, and never 
pull trigger again. My name's not Crockett if I wouldn't 
get glory enough to appease my stomach for the remainder 
of my life. The scouts report that a settler, by the 
name of Johnson, flying with his wife and three little 
children, when they reached the Colorado, left his family 
on the shore, and waded into the river to see whether it 
would be safe to ford with his waggon. When about the 
miiddle of the river he was seized by an alligator, and, 
after a struggle, was dragged under the water, and pe- 
rished. The helpless woman and her babes were dis- 
covered, gazing in agony on the spot, by other fugitives 
who happily passed that way, and relieved them. Those 
who fight the battles experience but a small part of the 
privation, suffering, and anguish that follow in the train 
of ruthless war. The cannonading continued, at inter- 
vals, throughout the day, and all hands were kept up to 
their work. The enemy, somewhat imboldened, draws 
nigher to the fort. So much the better. — There was a 
move in General Sesma*s division toward' evening. 


Pihrmarj^ 29. — Before daybreak we saw General 
Seama leave his camp with a laige bo^ of eavaby and 
iafiuitry, and loore oiF in the direction of Goliad. We 
think thai he mnst have received news of Cok>neI Fan* 
ningfs coming to oar reliet We are all in high spirits at 
the prospect of being able to give the rascak a £aur shake 
on the plain. This business of being shnt np makes a 
man wolfish. — I had a little sport this morning before 
breakout. The enemy had planted a piece of ordnance 
within gon-shot of the fort daring the night, and the first 
thing in the morning they commenced a brisk cannon- 
ade, point-blank, against the spot where I was snoring. 
I tamed oat pretty smart, and mounted the rampart. 
The gan was charged again, a fellow stepped forth to 
toach her ofS^ but before he could apply the match I let 
him have it, and he keeled over. A second stepped up, 
snatched the match from the hand of the dying man, but 
Thimblerig, who had followed me^ handed me his rifle, 
and the next instant the Mexican was stretched on the 
earth beside the first. A third came up to the cannon, my 
companion handed me another gun, and I fixed him off in 
like manner. A fourth, then a fifth, seised the match, 
who both met with the same fate, and then the whole 
party gave it up as a bad job, and hurried off to the camp, 
leaving the cannon ready charged where they had planted 
it. I came down, took my bitters, and went to break- 
fast. Thimblerig told me that the place from which I 
had been firing was one of the snuggest stands in the 
whole fort, for he never failed picking off two or three 
stragglers before breakfast, when perched up there. 
And I recollect, now, having seen him there, ever since 
he was wounded, the first thing in the morning, and the 


last at night,— and at times thoughtlessly playing at his 
eternal game. 

March 1. — The enemy's forces have heen increasing 
in numbers daily, notwithstanding they have already lost 
about three hundred men in the several assaults they 
have made upon us. I neglected to mention in the 
proper place, that when the enemy came in sight we had 
but three bashels of com in the garrison, but have since 
found eighty bushels in a deserted house. Colonel 
Bowie's illness still continues, but he manages to crawl 
from his bed every day, that his comrades may see him. 
His presence alone is a tower of strength. — The enemy 
becomes more daring as his numbers increase. 

March 2. — This day the delegates meet in general 
convention, at the town of Washington, to frame our 
Declaration of Independence. That the sacred instru- 
ment may never be trampled on by the children of those 
who have freely shed their blood to establish it, is the 
sincere wish of David Crockett. Universal independence 
is an almighty idea, far too extensive for some brains to 
comprehend. It is a beautiful seed that germinates ra- 
pidly, and brings forth a large and vigorous tree, but like 
the deadly Upas, we sometimes find the smaller plants 
wither and die in its shades. Its blooming branches 
spread far and wide, offering a perch of safety to all alike^ 
but even among its protecting branches we find the eagle, 
the kite, and the owl preying upon the helpless dove and 
sparrow. Beneath its shade myriads congregate in good 
fellowship, but the lamb and the fawn find but frail se- 
curity from the lion and the jackal, though the tree of 
independence waves over them. Some imagine indepen- 
dence to be a natural charter, to exercise without res- 

140 COLONEL Crockett's 

traint, and to their fullest extent^ all the energies, both 
physical and mental^ with which they have been endow- 
ed; and for their individual aggrandizement alone, 
without regard to the rights of others, provided they 
extend to all the same privilege and freedom of action. 
Such independence is the worst of tyranny. 

March 3. — We have given over all hopes of receiving 
assistance from Goliad or Refugio. Colonel Travis 
harangued the garrison, and concluded by exhorting 
them, in case the enemy should carry the fort, to fight 
to the last gasp^ and render their victory even more se- 
rious to them than to us. This was followed by three 

March 4. — Shells have been falling into the fort like 
hail during the day^ but without effect. About dusk, in 
the evening, we observed a man running towards the 
fort, pursued by about a dozen Mexican cavalry. The 
Bee hunter immediately knew him to be the old pirate 
who had gone to Goliad, and, calling to the two hunters, 
he sallied out of the fort to the relief of the old man^ 
who was hard pressed. I followed close after. Before 
we reached the spot the Mexicans were close on the 
heel of the old man, who stopped suddenly, turned short 
upon his pursuers, discharged his rifle, and one of the 
enemy fell from his horse. The chase was renewed, 
but finding that he would be overtaken and cut to pieces, 
he now turned again, and, to the amazement of the enemy, 
became the assailant in his turn. He clubbed his gun, 
and dashed among them like a wounded tiger, and they 
fled like sparrows. By this time we reached the spot, 
and, in the ardour of the moment^ followed some distance 
before we saw that our retreat to the fort was cut off by 


another detachment of cavalry. Nothing was to be done 
but to fight our way through. We were all of the same 
mind. '< Go ahead I" cried I, and they shouted, <' Go 
ahead, Colonel !" We dashed among them, and a bloody 
conflict ensued. They were about twenty in number, 
and they stood their ground. After the fight had con- 
tinued about five minutes, a detachment was seen issuing 
from the fort to our relief, and the Mexicans scampered 
off, leaving eight of their comrades dead upon the field. 
But we did not escape unscathed, for both the pirate 
and the Bee hunter were mortally wounded, and I receiv- 
ed a sabre cut across the forehead. The old man died, 
without speaking, as soon as we entered the fort. We 
bore my young friend to his bed, dressed his wounds, 
and I watched beside him. He lay, without complaint 
or manifesting pain, until about midnight, when he spoke, 
and I asked him if he wanted any thing. << Nothing," 
he replied, but drew a sigh that seemed to rend his heart, 
as he added, << Poor Kate of Nacogdoches I" His eyes 
were filled with tears, as he continued, ^< Her words 
were prophetic. Colonel ;" and then he sang, in a low 
voice that resembled the sweet notes of his own devoted 

*^ But toom cam* the saddle, all bluidy to see. 
And hame cam* the steed, but hame never cara'he/* 

He spoke no more, and, a few minutes after, died. Poor 
Kate, who will tell this to thee I 

March 5. — Pop, pop, pop I Bom, bom, bom I 
throughout the day. — No time for memorandums now. 
Go ahead ! — Liberty and independence for ever I 

\^Here ends CoL Crockett's fnanuscript'] 

142 COLOVEL Crockett's 


The hand is cold that wrote the fcftegoing pages, and 
it devolves upon another to record the subsequent events. 
Before daybreak, on the 6th of March, the Alamo was 
assaulted by the whole force of the Mexican army, com- 
manded by Santa Anna in person. The battle was des- 
perate until dayUght, when only six men belonging to the 
Texian garrison were found alive. They were instantly 
surrounded, and ordered, by General Castrillon, to sur- 
render^ which they did, under a promise of his protec- 
tion, finding that resistance any longer would be mad- 
ness. Colonel Crockett was of the number. He stood 
alone in an angle of the fort, the barrel of his shattered 
rifle in his right hand, in his left his huge Bowie knife 
dripping blood. There was a frightful gash across his 
forehead, while around him there was a complete barrier 
of about twenty Mexicans, lying pell-mell, dead, and 
dying. At his feet lay the dead body of that well-known 
character, designated in the Colonel's narrative by the 
assumed named name of Thimblerig, his knife driven to 
the haft in the throat of a Mexican, and his left hand 
clenched in his hair. Poor fellow, I knew him well, at 
a time when he was possessed of many virtues, but of 
late years the weeds had choked up the flowers ; how- 
ever,' Colonel Crockett had succeeded in awakening in his 
bosom a sense of better things, and the poor fellow was 
grateful to the last, and stood beside his friend through- 
out the desperate havoc. 

General Castrillon was brave and not cruel, and dis- 


posed to save the prisoners. He marched them up to 
that part of the fort where stood Santa Anna and his 
murderous crew. The steady, fearless step, and un- 
daunted tread of Colonel Crockett on this occasion, toge- 
ther with the hold demeanour of the hardy veteran, had 
a powerful effect on all present. Nothing daunted, he 
marched up boldly in front of Santa Anna, and looked 
him sternly in the face, while Castrillon addressed " his 
excellency 2" — ** Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken 
alive ; how shall I dispose of them ? " Santa Anna 
looked at Castrillon fiercely, fiew into a violent rage, and 
replied, *' Have I not told you before how to dispose of 
them ? Why do you bring them to me ? " At the same 
time his brave officers plunged their swords into the 
bosoms of their defenceless prisoners. Colonel Crockett, 
seeing the act of treachery, instantly sprang like a tiger 
at the ruffian chief, but before he could reach him a 
dozen swords were sheathed in his indomitable heart; 
and he fell, and died without a groan, a irowu on his 
brow, and a smile of scorn and defiance on his lips. 
Castrillon rushed from the scene, apparently horror- 
struck, sought his quarters, and did not leave them for 
several days, and hardly spoke to Santa Anna after. 

The conduct of Colonel Bowie was characteristic to 
the last. When the fort was carried he was sick in bed. 
He had also one of the murderous butcher knives 
which bears his name. Lying in bed he discharged his 
pistols and gun, and with each discharge brought down 
an enemy. So intimidated were the Mexicans by this 
act of desperate and cool bravery, that they dared not 
approach him, but shot him from the door ; and as the 
cowards approached his bed, over the dead bodies of their 


c ompani oni, the djh^ Bowie» nenrii^ biiosdf for a last 
bUm, plunged his knife into the heart of his nearest foe 
at the same instant that he expimL 

The gallant Colond TrsTis fooght as if determined to 
Terify his prediction, that he wonld make a victoij more 
serious than a defeat to the enemj. He fell from the 
ramparty mortallj wounded, into the fort; and his 
musket fell forward among the foe, who were scaling the 
walL After a few minutes he recoTered suffidentlj to 
sit up, when the Mexican officer who led that party 
attempted to cut his head off with his sabre. The 
dying hero, with a death-grasp, drew his sword and 
plunged it into the body of his antagonist, and both 
together sank into the arms of death. General Cos, who 
had commanded this fortress while in the possession of 
the Mexicans, and from whom it was captured, on enter- 
ing the fort after the battle, ordered the servant of 
Colonel Travis to point out the body of his master ; he 
did so, when Cos drew his sword, waved it triumphantly 
over the corpse, and then mangled the fece and limbs 
with the malignant feelings of a Cumanche savage. One 
woman, Mrs. Dickenson, and a negro of Colonel Travis, 
were the only persons whose lives were spared. The 
bodies of the slain were then thrown into a mass in the 
centre o( the Alamo, and burned. The loss of the 
Mexicans in storming the place was not less than eight 
hundred killed and mortally wounded, making their 
losses, since the first assault, more than fifteen hundred. 
This immense slaughter, by so small a number, can only 
be accounted for by the fact of the 1 exians having five 
or six guns to each man in the fort. Immediately after 
the capture Santa Anna sent Mrs. Dickenson and the 


servant to General Houston, accompanied by a Mexican 
with a flag, offering the Texians peace and general 
amnesty, if they would lay down their arms, and sub- 
mit to his government. General Houston's reply was, 
" True, sir, you have succeeded in killing some of our 
brave men, but the Texians are not yet conquered." He 
sent him a copy of the Declaration of Independence 
recently agreed on at New Washington, 

After the capture of San Antonio, Santa Anna had 
made a feint on Gonzales, where General Houston was 
with a very inferior force, which induced the latter to fall 
back on the Colorado, under the belief that the whole 
Mexican army was marching to attack him. A similar 
feint was also made by the Mexican General on Bastrop, 
a town on the Colorado, north-east of San Antonio. 
Gonzales lies east of that place. Having, in both in- 
stances^ effected his object, Santa Anna concentrated his 
forces, and marched directly for La Bahia, or Goliad, 
which is situated about ninety miles south-east of San 
Antonio, on the Colorado. The fort at Goliad is of great 
strength, and was defended by Colonel Fanning with a 
small force of volunteers. About the middle of March^ 
orders were received from General Houston directing the 
blowing up and evacuation of the fort, and that Colonel 
Fanning should concentrate with him on the Colorado. 
On the ISth of March the Mexicans were discovered, in 
considerable force, in the neighbourhood of Goliad, and 
through the day there was some skirmishing with the ad- 
vance parties. On the 19th the fort was set on fire, and 
its wooden defences destroyed ; but the wall was left en- 
tire, and Colonel Fanning took up his line of march. 
His force, at that time; was reduced to two hundred and 


146 COLONEL Crockett's 

sixty, rank and file. With this force and several field 
pieces he set out to cross an open country, and endeavour 
to effect a junction with General Houston. On the evening' 
of the first day of their march, the enemy made their ap- 
pearance in the rear, about three miles distant. Colonel 
Fanning halted, and opened his artillery on them, instead 
of hastening forward to avail himself of the shelter of a 
wood, some distance ahead. The enemy manifesting a 
disposition to cut him off from the woods, he again put 
his forces in motion, but it was now too late. He not only 
lost the shelter of the timber, which would have ensured 
his safety against the enemy's horse, but the assistance of 
his advanced guard, which was cut off from him by this 
raanceuvre of the enemy. The absence of the advancod 
guard reduced bis forces to two hundred and thirty-three, 
rank and file, to which the enemy opposed five hundred 
cavalry and two hundred infantry. The action com* 
menced about five o'clock, and continued until nearly 
dark. The enemy was repulsed with great loss in every 
charge, and never was able to penetrate nearer to Fan- 
ning's force than sixty-five or one hundred yards ; and 
finally, about dark, drew off his forces to a secure distance, 
leaving only a few to succour the wounded, who were not 
molested. Fanning's loss was five killed and twelve 
wounded, two mortally. The enemy acknowledged the 
loss of one hundred and ninety-two killed and a large 
number wounded. So soon as the Mexicans withdrew, 
Fanningcominenced throwing up intrenchments, at which 
his men were employed during the whole night. 

About sunrise on the :20th, the enemy again advanced 
on Fanning, and fired their cannon four times over him ; 
a large reinforcement of Mexicans was plainly to be seen, 


three miles distant. At this moment a white flag, attended 
by a small party, was seen advancing from the enemy, 
which was met by a similar one from Fanning, under 
Major Wallace. The enemy demanded the surrender of 
Fanning and his forces, and promised, in the most sacred 
manner, that they should retain all their private property ; 
that they might return, by the first opportunity, as pri- 
soners of war, to the United States, or remain until thiey 
were regularly exchanged ; and that they should be treated 
in the most humane manner while retained in confine- 
ment. With these specious promises he was induced to 
trust to the honour of the butchers of the Alamo, and ac- 
cept of the terms of capitulation. 

As soon as the necessary arrangements could be made 
the prisoners were marched, under a strong guard, to 
Goliad, and huddled together^ officers and men, into a 
church within the fort at Goliad. The enemy having 
succeeded in capturing other small parties, the number of 
prisoners amounted to four hundred, and were all crowded 
together in the church, and compelled to sit or lie con- 
stantly. The only accommodation afforded was a few 
benches for the officers. They were retained in this 
situation for three days, and during this period received 
only a small ration of raw beef» not exceeding half a pound 
each. On the fourth day they were marched out into the 
open air, and limits prescribed them, over which they were 
not to pass. For four days longer they were kept in this 
situation, during which time they were allowed only two 
rations similar to the first ; and, but for the pecan nuts 
purchased from the Mexican soldiers, and a small quantity 
of jerked beef procured in the same manner, they must 
have suffered immensely. On the eighth day represen- 

148 COLONEL Crockett's 

tations were made to the prisoners, that it would be ne- 
cessary to remove them out of the fort, as they were about 
to drive in beeves to slaughter, in order to prepare rations 
for their removal to Matagorda, where they were to take 
shipping for New Orleans, lliey were accordingly 
marched out, in parties of one hundred each, and, in 
single file, were led along a high brush fence ; when, at 
the distance of two hundred yards, they were ordered to 
face about, and the cocking of the guns gave the first in- 
timation of the fate that awaited them. At the first fire 
nearly all fell mortally wounded. A few escaped by 
falling at the flash, and as soon as the firing ceased, they 
leaped up, and sprung over the fence, and succeeded in 
reaching the woods, where they eluded their pursuers. 
The Mexicans proceeded to despatch with their bayonets 
any who showed signs of life after the firing, and they then 
stripped and burnt the bodies. The authorities of Texas 
bestowed solemn obsequies upon their mutilated and 
blackened limbs, on the 4th of June, after their murderers 
had sank unto death on the plains of San Jacinto, under 
the appalling words, ** Remember La Bahia !" 

But this succession of barbarities, so far from intimi- 
dating, served to rouse the energies of the oppressed. The 
vainglorious Spaniard, elated with his success, without 
adverting to the fact that he had never been victorious 
without having at least from five to ten of his mercenaries 
opposed to one of his foes, now ventured to cross the 
Colorado, believing that victory was perched upon his 
standard, and would not leave it until Texas should be 

His track was marked by death and desolation. Fire, 
famine, and the sword were in his train, and neither sex 


nor age was received as a plea for mercy. The hoary 
head of the grandsire, the flaxen curls of the hahe> and 
the dishevelled tresses of the affrighted mother, were 
aUke stained with gore. Farm houses were consumed by 
fire, the crops destroyed on the ground ; and the settlers 
fled in dismay, feeling that the worst of scourges had been 
let loose upon them. The plains were strewed with thou- 
sands of the unburied slaughtered ; and the air was fetid 
with corruption and decay. The merciless tyrant saw all 
this, and his heart expanded vdth joy, as he moved on, 
like Attila, and beheld the terror and wretchedness of 
those he came to annihilate, rather than to scourge into 
subjection. But his was a temporary triumph. He 
crossed the Colorado full of hope of carrying his demoniac 
intentions into execution, but shame, confusion, and de- 
feat awaited his coming. 

About the 18th of April the tyrant, with one division 
of his troops, marched in the direction of Lynch's ferry, 
on the San Jacinto, burning Harrisburgh as he passed 
down. The Texian forces, under General Houston, were 
ordered to be in readiness, and on the morning of the 
19th they took up their line of march in pursuit of him, 
and found him encamped on the banks of the San Jacinto. 
About nine o'clock on the morning of the 21st the Mexi- 
cans were reinforced by five hundred choice troops, under 
command of General Cos, increasing their efiective force 
to upward of fifteen hundred men, while the aggregate 
force of the Texians, for the field, numbered seven hun- 
dred and eighty-three. Greneral Houston ordered the 
bridge on the only road communicating with the Brazos, 
distant from the encampment, to be destroyed, thus cut^ 
ting off all possibility of escape. The Texian army was 


150 coLOMBL Crockett's 

ordered to parade tbeir respective commands, which they 
did with alacrity and spirit, and were anxious for the 
conflict ; the disparity in numbers only seemed to in- 
crease their enthusiasm and confidence. Houston, having' 
the enemy thus snugly hemmed in, and his little army 
drawn up in order of battle, addressed them, in person^ 
briefly, and concluded by saying, << Fellow soldiers, there 
is the enemy before you ; do you wish to fight ?'* " We 
do I" was the universal response. " Well, then," he con- 
tinued, " remember it is for liberty, or death I — Remem- 
ber the Alamo! Remember Goliad I" The soldiers 
shouted, " We shall remember !'* — " Then go ahead I" 
From General Houston's official account it appears that 
the war-cry was, << Remember the Alamo." The attack 
was furious, and lasted about eighteen minutes from the 
time of close action until the Texians were in possession 
of the enemy's camp. Our riflemen, not having the ad- 
vantage of bayonets, used their pieces as clubs, breaking 
many of them at the breech. The rout commenced at 
half-past four o'clock, and continued until twilight. In 
the battle our loss was two killed and twenty-three 
wounded, six of whom mortally. The enemy's loss was 
six hundred and thirty killed, and seven hundred and 
thirty were taken prisoners, among whom were Generals 
Santa Anna and Cos, who were captured a day or two 
after the battle. About six hundred muskets and three 
hundred sabres were collected; several hundred mules 
and horses were taken, and near twelve hundred dollars 
in specie. 

We learn, from other sources, that General Cos, when 
taken, was pale and greatly agitated; but Almont dis- 
played, as he had during the fight, great coolness and 


courage. Santa Anna fled among the earliest who re- 
treated. His horse bogged down in the prairie, near the 
Brassos timber ; he then made for the timber on foot. 
His pursuers, in the eagerness of the chase, dashed into 
the same bog, and continued the pursuit on foot, following 
the trail of the fugitive, which was very plain on account 
of the recent rains, until they reached the timber, where 
it was lost. The pursuers then spread themselves, and 
searched the woods for a long time in vain, when It oc- 
curred to Arnold Hunter that the chase might, like a 
hard pressed bear, have taken a tree. The tree tops were 
then examined, when, lo I the game was discovered snugly 
ensconced in the forks of a large live oak. The captors 
did not know who the prisoner was until they reached the 
camp, when the Mexican soldiers exclaimed, '< £1 General, 
£1 General Santa Anna !" When conducted to General 
Houston he offered to evacuate Texas, and acknowledge 
its independence, on condition that his life and liberty 
should be granted to him, and a safe escort to Mexico. 

The enemy passed La Bahia and Bexar, blowing up 
the Alamo ; spiking, and throwing the cannon in the river, 
in his retreat. The Cumanche Indians commenced de- 
predating in the rear of the Mexican army, as they ad- 
vanced from Bexar upon the settlements. All their 
horses and mules, of which they had many, as well as 
much baggage, were taken by the Indians. At every 
step they met with trouble, and are hurrying with all 
possible despatch toward the interior. 

The fate of poor Fanning, who was not killed in the 
indiscriminate massacre of his troops, has since been as- 
certained. He was condemned to be shot. When he 
found that was determined on, and was ordered out for 


execution, be handed his watch to an officer, as com- 
pensation to have him buried, deliberately tied a hand- 
kerchief over his eyes, begged them not to shoot him in 
the head, bared his breast, and requested to be shot there. 
He was shot in the head, and never buried I 

Such are the monsters that freemen have had to con- 
tend with, to maintain their freedom ; true, the struggle 
is not yet over, but nothing can impede the onward 
march, and Texas must take her stand among indepen- 
dent nations.